Human Research Protection Program and Institutional Review Board

The Dartmouth Health Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) aims to promote a culture of compliance and to establish the highest expectations for performance and oversight of research involving human subjects across the Dartmouth Health system. We are committed to the education of the Dartmouth Health research community and outreach to collaborating institutions.

The HRPP includes the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and IRB administrative office. The IRB administrative office is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations and support of the HRPP and IRBs. Our office staff perform a variety of functions in addition to supporting the HRPP and IRBs, including:

  • Providing IRB determinations
  • Reviewing studies on behalf of the IRBs
  • Assisting researchers with IRB related questions
  • Providing training and outreach to the Dartmouth Health HRPP community

The HRPP includes Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics. The IRBs of record for the Dartmouth Health HRPP are referred to as the Dartmouth Health IRBs. There are 3 Dartmouth Health IRBs that provide review for all research conducted by Dartmouth Health members.

About the HRPP and IRB

Our mission

The mission of the HRPP is to assure that all participants:

  • Are protected from any unnecessary risk when enrolled in a research study
  • Can make an informed decision to participate
  • Benefit from the knowledge gained from the research study (whether individually or as a member of society at large)

The goal of the HRPP and the IRB is to assist investigators in developing appropriate research protocols in accordance with federal and institutional policies, and within accepted ethical guidelines.

Our ethical principles

All human subjects research conducted by Dartmouth Health investigators—regardless of source of funding or location of the research—is guided by the ethical principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice, as set forth in the April 18, 1979 report of The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research entitled Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, also known as The Belmont Report.

Our statement of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

The mission and purpose of an HRPP is to safeguard the rights and welfare of human participants in research, and to both include and protect those whose conditions are the focus of study. IRBs are responsible for evaluating and approving all human participant research. They should ensure that any exclusion from participation is justified and based on scientific, ethical, or safety concerns.

As an IRB, we recognize our responsibility to address ethical and regulatory concerns regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in research and to support researchers and institutional efforts that are foundational to achieving these goals. We are committed to evaluating all IRB applications, including:

  • Eligibility criteria
  • Recruitment materials
  • Consent documents
  • Processes

We also evaluate other study documents for inclusive and equitable opportunities for potential participants.

As the entity that holds investigators and research personnel accountable, we, as IRB professionals and members, are also accountable. We strive to sustain IRB representation and membership to reflect the population we serve and protect. As part of the research community, we recognize that each member of the HRPP, IRB, and those we work with play an integral role in advancing research that represents our communities. We endeavor to reduce disparities and promote social justice. We are committed to this work.