This guidance document provides information to assist researchers planning to conduct research with Tribal populations.
If your research involves American Indians or Alaska Natives, your study will be reviewed by the OSU IRB and, under some circumstances, one or more additional boards. You will also need to provide the OSU IRB with a letter of support from the appropriate authority within each tribe that will be invited to participate in your research.
Based on feedback from multiple tribes, the Portland Area Indian Health Service IRB has suggested researchers consider the following elements when working with tribal populations:
Step 1: Obtain letters of support
Each tribe is unique and has their own rules and procedures regarding research within their communities. According to the Indian Health Service's (IHS) IRB, Tribal Council(s) must review research that is taking place within a reservation, at a Tribal facility, or that utilizes any of the Tribe's resources. A letter of support or Tribal Resolution must be obtained from the appropriate authority within the tribe. A letter of support or Tribal Resolution should include a description of the research, a description of any resources that will be provided by the tribe for the research project, and any promises made to the tribe by the study team, as appropriate.
The letter of support or Tribal Resolution must be obtained prior to submitting your application to the IRB for review.
Step 2: Submit your study to the OSU IRB
In the research protocol, indicate which tribe(s) will be invited to participate in your study and confirm that once approved, you will submit your study to the additional review boards, as appropriate.
Step 3: Submit your study documents to additional review boards
In an effort to minimize dual review, the OSU IRB may rely on the IHS IRB to provide oversight for research conducted by OSU researchers. The OSU IRB will explore this option with IHS on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on how to proceed, contact the co-Chair of the IHS IRB, Rena Macy, at Rena.Macy@ihs.gov or (503) 414-7778.
The Northwest Portland Indian Health Service IRB uses an electronic submission system (IRBNet) for its reviews. For more information, see how to register as a new user or additional instructions for researchers.
If your study will involve tribal populations outside of the Pacific Northwest, please refer to the IHS website for additional contacts (link: http://www.ihs.gov/research/index.cfm?module=hrpp_about)
Note: IHS will not facilitate collaborations between researchers and tribal communities.
Step 4: Complete your OSU IRB file
Once you have received the necessary permits, approvals, and/or determinations from the appropriate review boards, provide the OSU IRB with these documents.
Guidance Version Date: 12/2/2016