Institutional Review Board

The Henry Ford College Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee established to review and approve research involving human subjects. The purpose of the IRB is to ensure that all human subject research is conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines. Individuals seeking to conduct human subject research may not solicit subject participation or begin data collection until they have obtained written approval by the Henry Ford College IRB.

IRB application forms

Henry Ford College IRB Review Criteria

The IRB safeguards individuals involved in research by ensuring that:

  • Risks have been considered and minimized.
  • The potential for benefits has been identified and maximized.
  • Ethically sound methods are used to recruit subjects.
  • Research volunteers are provided with substantial information about the study and will volunteer only after being provided with legally effective informed consent.
  • All private information about participants is handled with confidentiality, in a secure manner.
  • Research is conducted in an ethical manner and in compliance with established standards.

Scope and Authority of the IRB

HFC's IRB is governed by the IRB Charter and Standard Operating Procedures, which are based on the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations, title 45, part 46. The IRB has the authority to:

  • Review research involving human subjects and approve, require modifications, or deny permission for those research activities involving human subjects at or affiliated with HFC.
  • Provide continuing advice and counsel to personnel engaged in activities that involve human subjects.
  • Require progress reports from the investigators and oversee the conduct of the study.
  • Suspend or terminate approval of a study, or to place restrictions on a study, when this is deemed to be in the best interests of the subjects in that study.
  • Observe the informed consent process in any approved project, especially in cases where the consentee is from a vulnerable population.
  • Access and make copies of records related to any research approved by the IRB for any reason, regardless of the location of those records.

Reporting Problems and Violations

All staff, student research investigators, principal investigators, or research participants are required to report to the Chair of the IRB Committee any of the following upon knowledge of:

  • Unanticipated problems involving risks to subjects or others; and
  • Serious or continuing noncompliance with the federal regulations or requirements or determinations of the IRB.

The report can be made by contacting the current IRB chair, Laura Willman, at

Upon receipt of such information, or if a research project is suspended or terminated by the IRB, the IRB Chair will make a written report to the Henry Ford College IRB committee, the appropriate institutional officials, the head of any department or agency conducting or supporting the research, any applicable regulatory body, and the Office for Human Research Protections.

Projects Subject to Review

Only research involving living human subjects is subject to IRB review. Research is defined as a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Living human subjects means a living person about whom an investigator conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information (obtained directly or indirectly from a source entrusted with human subject information).

Does my study fit the definition of research involving living human subjects?

To determine whether your proposed project fits the definition and thus will require IRB review, refer to the IRB Review Decision Flow Chart.

HFC faculty and students conducting research for a specific HFC course should use the Checklist for Determining if a Classroom Project Must be Submitted to the IRB.

Henry Ford College IRB Members 2023-2024

Laura Willman, Ph.D. (IRB Chair)
Research Analyst

Jason Young, Ph.D.
Director of Institutional Research & Business Intelligence

Bridget Smith-Botos
Research Analyst

Kalvin Harvell, Ph.D.
Full-Time Faculty, Sociology

Sam Bazzi
Full-Time Faculty, Mathematics

Questions? Contact:

Laura Willman, Ph.D. (IRB Chair)
Research Analyst