I recently attended a meeting for the Clinical Research Design team – one of the six design team components of the Texas Medical Center Strategic Plan – and was impressed by many of the ideas that were presented there, not the least of which was a valuable initiative to develop a common TMC Institutional Review Board (IRB).
We have the best and the brightest clinicians and researchers here within the Texas Medical Center, and the representative design team participants bring unique perspectives and ideas to the table. I had the opportunity to hear first hand from the clinical research design team about the value of a common IRB, focused on the multi-institutional collaboration and third-party clinical research within the medical center.
All of our members are committed to providing the best possible patient care, and research is essential to that mission. In addition to the individual IRBs maintained by the institution across the Texas Medical Center, we are exploring how a common IRB could help streamline multi-institutional research efforts and allow for a single point of contact for researchers and third parties wishing to conduct research within the medical center. This approach could potentially serve to offer a single entry point for innovation and industry, to marry great ideas and the collective passion of researchers across this campus. As all researchers and clinicians understand, the review process can be daunting. The goal of a common TMC IRB would be to streamline the process, and provide resources to assist investigators in shepherding research proposals to increase the research conducted and, in turn, discoveries made.