Protection of Human Subjects

This policy aims to ensure the protection of human subjects involved in research conducted at CUNY SPH or by the CUNY SPH research community. Federal regulations require that all research involving the use of human subjects undergo review by the Human Subjects Committee to ensure that ethical research is being conducted. This Committee is composed of scientists, non-scientists, and community members with diverse backgrounds to maintain a comprehensive review of the research projects.

CUNY Human Research Protection Program

The CUNY Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) is responsible for the protection of the rights and welfare of human subjects in research projects conducted at CUNY or by CUNY faculty, staff, and students and RF CUNY staff. The program provides oversight, administrative support, and educational training to ensure that CUNY research complies with Federal and State regulations, University policies, and the highest ethical standards.

Failure to obtain approval for research could result in the cancellation of current and future funding and result in the University not receiving any future federal funding. Furthermore, any non-approved research, conducted by individuals associated with the University (student, faculty, etc.), exposes the researchers and the University to legal action.  Additionally, research conducted without ethical oversight may harm participants and damage the reputation of the researcher and/or the University.

For additional information on CUNY HRRP, click here.

CUNY SPH Researchers’ Responsibility

For CUNY HRPP/IRB, a researcher is any individual who:

  1. serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-investigator;
  2. interacts directly with the research subjects for research purposes; or
  3. has access to identifiable private information about the human subjects for research purposes.

Researchers are responsible for:

  1. the ethical conduct of their research, including the protection of human subjects;
  2. complying with all applicable regulations and CUNY policies;
  3. adhering to CUNY UI-IRB’s stipulations.

Though the research team shares these responsibilities, the Principal Investigator (PI) is ultimately responsible for the ethical conduct of research and compliance with applicable regulations, policies, and IRB stipulations.

Researchers are responsible for protecting human subjects throughout the research process: recruitment, screening, consenting, study procedures and end of the study considerations. Specifically, researchers should:

  • Develop research studies using sound research design, which minimizes risks to subjects, does not unnecessarily expose subjects to research-related risks, and maximizes benefits;
  • Planning and implementing fair and equitable recruitment practices, which avoid the potential for coercion and undue influence;
  • Obtaining legally effective informed consent for subject participation;
  • Ensuring the availability of adequate resources (including personnel, time commitment, facilities, funding, etc.), such that the research may be conducted in a manner that protects the rights and welfare of human subjects and that ensure the integrity of the research, and
  • Responding promptly to subject complaints, concerns, or requests for information and reporting any significant complaints or concerns to the IRB.

The HRPP Coordinator serves as the first point of contact for CUNY faculty, staff, and students who become involved in human subjects research. For any questions, please contact Kristen Cribbs, Director, Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) for CUNY SPH, at

Training and Education

Researchers must be qualified by education, training, and experience to conduct the research they are proposing. Additionally, researchers are required to complete the CUNY-required modules of the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative’s (CITI) online training in the protection of human subjects. Detailed CUNY policies concerning this requirement are available at HRPP Policies & Procedures.

For additional information on CUNY’s educational requirements, click here.

To complete your CITI trainings click here.

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