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Research Ethics Consultations

Since its founding, St. Jude has established itself as one of the world’s premier pediatric research institutions. As we continue to push boundaries in clinical and translational science, the [Section on Ethics] serves as a resource for researchers at any point in the process, from design to analysis. Consultations may take place in-person or via phone and offer researchers the opportunity to have a detailed conversation to think through potential values conflicts posed by a particular study.

Questions that a researcher might wish to discuss with a consultant include:

  • Does my study design tie effectively to my research question?
  • Does this study design effectively balance risks and benefits?
  • How can I more effectively communicate with study participants to ensure informed consent?
  • Are participation estimates reasonable, such that this study is likely to deliver meaningful results?
  • Have I taken steps to consider and avoid unconscious bias in my study design?

Recommendations from bioethics consultants are advisory only. Consultants do not prevent researchers from submitting proposals, regardless of whether they choose to accept recommendations from the service.

Research ethics and the Institutional Review Board (IRB)

A research ethics consultation is not a substitute for review and approval by the St. Jude IRB, which ensures St. Jude research is aligned with federal regulations and guidelines and institutional and IRB policies and procedures focused on protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects involved in research.

Research ethics consultations are meant to be complimentary and additive to IRB review and approval. An ethics consultation can help researchers identify potential gaps or unanswered questions prior to IRB submission. A consultation might also be useful in cases where a course of action is permitted by regulation or policies, but still raises ethical concerns.

To request a research ethics consultation, Contact Us.