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Research review committees

Learn more about conducting research at VA Houston, including required forms and how to apply.

Research and Development Committee (RDC) Responsibilities

The role of the Research and Development (R&D) Committee is to review the scientific merit and oversee the administration of all research taking place at the VA Houston. Following R&D Committee review and approval, an approval notice is sent to the principal investigator from the Associate Chief of Staff for Research (ACOS/R). Work may only begin on a project following the receipt of the ACOS/R approval notice sent by the R&D Committee Coordinator and signed by the R&D Committee Chair. 

RDC Committee meetings

The RDC meets on the third Monday of each month.

Subcommittees of the RDC

All studies involving human subjects or the use of identified human samples or data must be approved by one of two IRBs- BCM IRB or VA Central IRB. The VA Central IRB reviews select multi-site projects funded by the VA Office of Research and Development such as Cooperative studies and Merit Awards. 

NOTE: Exceptions for studies funded by other sources are made on a case by case basis. 

All other studies are reviewed by the BCM IRB. No individual, including investigators, officials of VA Houston, or representatives from a sponsor or Contract Research Organization may overrule the decisions of the reviewing IRB.

Submit IRB protocols through BCM’s Biomedical and Assurance Information Network (BRAIN) system. 

IRB Helpline
Phone: 713-798-6970
Email: irb@bcm.edu 

As a subcommittee of the R&D Committee, any project that involves the use of laboratory animals in research or training must have BCM IACUC approval. 

NOTE: If the project is a VA funded study, the Animal Component of Research Protocol (ACORP) is required as part of the IACUC submission.

Submit IACUC protocols through BCM’s Biomedical and Assurance Information Network (BRAIN) system.

IACUC Helpline
Phone: 713-798-6966
Email: iacuc@bcm.edu

As a subcommittee of the R&D Committee, the SRS is responsible for reviewing and overseeing the biosafety of all research activities involving biological, chemical, physical, and radiation hazards for compliance with all applicable regulations, policies, and guidelines. This also includes a review of all laboratory-based research activities (either funded or non-funded) that will be conducted at the VA Houston or conducted off-site by VA personnel with VA funding. 

NOTE: The SRS is also responsible for also routing projects to VA Houston’s Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) and BCM’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) when applicable.

Submit SRS protocols through the VAHAR form within the eVACS Form.

If you have any questions, contact SRS Coordinator. For additional information, see the Laboratory and Research Safety page
 

Although the RSC is not a subcommittee of the R&D Committee, it plays a vital role in providing the necessary expertise concerning radiation safety. Therefore, Radiation Safety Committee approval, if applicable, is required before the release of the SRS approval notification.

The SRS will route protocols to VA Houston’s Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) whenever a protocol uses radioactive materials or sources of ionizing radiation, multiple X-rays, CT scan or other radiological procedures.

Submit RSC protocols through the VARAD form within the eVACS Form.

If you have any questions, please contact SRS Coordinator.

The BCM IBC, as a subcommittee of the R&D Committee, must review any project that involves the use of recombinant DNA.

This is in addition to the review and approval by VA Houston’s SRS. 

NOTE: The BCM IBC will provide results of the review and approval to the SRS. 

Submit IBC protocols through BCM’s Biomedical and Assurance Information Network (BRAIN) system.
 

Although the VA C-IRB is not a subcommittee of the R&D Committee, it plays a vital role in providing the necessary expertise concerning radiation safety. The VA Central IRB reviews select multi-site projects funded by the VA Office of Research and Development such as Cooperative studies and Merit Awards. 

Submit C-IRB protocols through the VA Central Office SharePoint. A VA C-IRB staff will contact the PI directly for access and information if applicable. 
 

Training

All research personnel (VA-paid and WOC; RSL, IQuESt, or any other service line) should submit a copy of completion certificates to the RSL Training Coordinator or RSL Training email group
 

The trainings listed below are required of all research personnel (VA-paid and WOC) engaging in VA research at VA Houston. The courses are offered through the VA Talent Management System (TMS). Follow the instructions provided to self-register. Information needed:

  • Sponsor: Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
  • VA Location Code: HOU
  • VA Point of Contact: Tiffany Hurt, 713-770-2784
  • HIPAA Training Required: Yes

VA TMS Training Schedule

VA TMS Training Schedule
Training Frequency Required For
Training VA Privacy and Information Security Awareness and Rules of Behavior (TMS #10176) Frequency Annually Required For All research personnel (VA-paid and WOC) engaging in VA research at VA Houston.
Training Privacy and HIPAA Training (TMS #10203) Frequency Annually Required For All research personnel (VA-paid and WOC) who have access to PHI and/or VHA computer systems during each fiscal year.
Training Annual Government Ethics Training (TMS #3812493) Frequency Annually Required For All research personnel (VA-paid and WOC) engaging in VA research at VA Houston.
Training HOU-Annual Review Training (ART) Infection Control, Blood Borne Pathogen and TB (TMS #3873852) Frequency Annually Required For All research personnel (VA-paid and WOC) engaging in VA research at VA Houston.

The project- and participation-specific training required of all research personnel (VA-paid and WOC) engaging in VA research at VA Houston is listed below.  The courses are offered through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI)

If you already have an account with CITI, please affiliate with the VA (“VA Houston, TX-580”); you can have multiple affiliations in CITI. 

Note: Lapses in these trainings are monitored by the medical center director.

CITI Training Schedule
 

 

CITI Training Schedule
Training Frequency Required
Training Human Subjects Protection Training: VA Human Subjects Protection and Good Clinical Practices Frequency Every two years Required The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) requires that all research personnel working with human subjects, human data, human tissue, blood, etc. complete the “VA Human Subjects Protection” training.
Training Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Course Frequency Every three years Required If you are working on a VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP) study or if the study is NIH-funded.
Training Working with the VA IACUC Frequency Every three years Required For researchers who will be working with animals or supervise those who will be working with animals, the web-based training entitled, “Working with the VA IACUC” and any species-specific training courses that cover the species proposed for use is required.
Training Working with Specific Species in Research Settings Frequency Every three years Required For researchers who will be working with animals or supervise those who will be working with animals. Species include mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, rabbit, cat, dog, swine, nonhuman primate or amphibian.
Training Veterinary Medical Unit (VMU) Safety Orientation Frequency Once Required For researchers who will be working with animals or supervise those who will be working with animals.
Training VA ORD Biosecurity Frequency Annually Required All laboratory personnel must complete the “VA ORD Biosecurity” training.
Training Packaging and Shipping of Class 6.2 Hazardous Agents Frequency Every two years Required Required if shipping biological or chemical hazards.

Contact the Research Compliance Officers, Jeff Young and Pam Maseda, to schedule. 

VA RCQAO Training Schedule
 

VA RCQAO Training Schedule
Training Frequency Required For
Training VA Research Compliance and Quality Assurance Orientation (RCQAO) Frequency Every three years Required For For researchers who will be working with Human Subjects, Human Data, Human Tissue, Blood, etc. Contact the VA Research Compliance Officers (RCO) to schedule.
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