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R. Milton & Denice Johnson Center

Institutional Review Board

Welcome! If you are interested in human subject reserach you are in the right place.

Please read the update below regarding Belmont IRB policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information is repeated on other section of the IRB webpage.


Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, studies or study procedures involving person-to-person interaction will continue to be paused until further notice. This includes faculty, student, and staff who are conducting human subject research. 

 The IRB has carefully considered this issue and has based this decision on several factors. The role of the IRB is to protect human subjects and the nature of the risks posed to human subjects in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic are new, different, and perhaps beyond minimal risk. For example, a previously low, face-to-face (in person) interview research protocol now poses new risks to potential participants (and researchers) given the potential of exposure to COVID-19.

 Additionally, the benefit to a participant volunteering for a research study now may to be outweighed by the risks. The IRB has also considered that previously low risk, exempt or expedited protocols now may require full IRB board review because of the risk of infectious exposure to the participant.

This is an evolving issue and one that the IRB will be continually monitoring.  

Protocols that were previously revised and moved to formats other than in person, face-to-face (e.g., online, telephone) may continue with the revised design. Research that was previously paused or suspended will need to either be moved to an none face-to face structure or continue in a pause/suspended state. 


The Belmont IRB is continuing our review and approval of all new NON in person/face-to-face research proposal protocols. The IRB will be providing guidance for non-face-to-face research and data security. For now, please direct any questions to

In order to avoid multiple reviews and revisions for investigators, the IRB will NOT be reviewing and approving any research proposals that involve face-to-face interactions with research participants until the pause has been lifted.


Before you read about the role of the IRB below, here are some links to important information:

Please do not hestiate to contact Sally Barton-Arwood, IRB Chair, or any of the IRB committee members if you need assistance or have any questions.  (See for member names and contact information.)


Role of the Belmont University IRB:

The IRB is an administrative committee established to provide ethical review and protection of the rights and welfare of human research subjects. The IRB is charged with reviewing all federally protected human subject studies conducted under the auspices of Belmont University. The work of the IRB is directed by federal regulation as outlined in Title 45, Part 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CRF 46). Specifically, the Belmont IRB

conducts initial review and approval or disapproval of the proposed research activity;
  • ensures that the proposed informed consent process meets all of the federal requirements; and
  • provides continuing oversight for progress reports and protocols for ongoing research studies.

The Provost serves as the Institutional Officer for the IRB. The Belmont IRB committee is made up of Belmont faculty and staff, and middle Tennessee community members. Belmont faculty and staff who serve as IRB committee members are appointed by the Provost and serve three year terms which can be renewed. Members come from diverse backgrounds including scientific and non-scientific areas.

The IRB meets regularly, usually once a month. Although all research protocol applications are reviewed by IRB committee members, only reviews that qualify for a full board review come to the whole committee. The IRB meeting schedule can be found under “Calendar.”

If you are wondering why Belmont has an IRB, please see “IRB Background and Purpose” on this webpage for information about why we have an IRB.