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:

  1. It is not guaranteed that all tribal members will have access to phones (especially long distance calling), email, and/or transportation to and from research visits
  2. Any resources that are required from the tribe should be clearly outlined in the letter of support or Tribal Resolution, i.e. meeting space, transportation, use of clinic facilities, staff time, etc.
  3. Data ownership during and after the research study should be clearly considered in advance in collaboration with the tribe. NOTE: Per OSU policy, all study related documents must be stored by the Principal Investigator in an OSU-audit accessible location for at least 7 years post study termination.
  4. Many tribes will want a plan for publication review by the tribe prior to publishing, which should be outlined in the letter of support or Tribal Resolution.

Step 1: Obtain letters of support

Each tribe is unique and has their own rules and procedures regarding research within their communities.  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 Indian Health Service’s (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.

  • If your study will involve the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon, you must first obtain a permit from Tribal Council.  Please review the Research Ordinance and follow the submission instructions.  For more information on how to proceed, contact the Tribal Planner at (541) 444-8361.

 

  • Your study may need to be approved by the Northwest Indian Health Service (IHS) IRB if it involves one or more of the following:
  1. tribal populations within Oregon, Washington, or Idaho
  2. staff or resources associated with the Indian Health Service (IHS)
  3. staff or resources associated with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NWPAIHB)

 

  • Your study MUST be approved by the Northwest Indian Health Service (IHS) IRB if it involves research affiliated with the clinic in any of these tribes:
  1. Warm Springs Tribe (OR)
  2. Spokane Tribe  (WA)
  3. Colville Tribe (WA)
  4. Yakama Tribe (WA)
  5. Shoshone-Bannock (ID)
  6. Western Oregon SU (Affiliated with Chemawa Indian School in Salem)

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: 12/24/2014