An Institutional Review Board (IRB) operates under federal regulations, state laws, and institutional policy.  The IRB conducts reviews of human subjects research to ensure the ethical treatment of those subjects and compliance with applicable requirements. The IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications to, or disapprove research activities. 

The CARAS IRB meets on a monthly basis.  The CARAS Director, Human Research Protections Program (HRPP), is the principal point of contact for questions regarding the IRB, IRB reviews, and formal regulatory determinations made by the CARAS HRPP.

IRB Structure

The CARAS IRB is composed of the IRB Chair, Vice-Chair, Executive Secretary,  and primary and alternate members of the IRB. 


IRB Chair

The IRB Chair understands ethical issues and regulatory requirements related to human subject research. Primary responsibilities of the IRB Chair include conducting convened board meetings, expedited reviews, and generally representing the IRB in communication with external parties. The IRB Vice-Chair may assume the duties of the Chair when required.


IRB Executive Secretary

The IRB Executive Secretary is responsible for coordinating the functions of the IRB. This includes maintaining systems relating to IRB submissions and record keeping, interacting with investigators, the planning and coordination of IRB meetings, and support of the IRB Chair in the conduct of IRB meetings and in follow-up activities.


IRB Members

The IRB is composed of scientists and non-scientists who serve as either a primary and alternate member. These individuals are responsible for reviewing IRB applications (this includes new studies, amendments, continuing reviews, adverse events, and unanticipated problems). CARAS IRB Members bring together a diverse set of experiences and expertise, and unique competence in alternative sexualities research and communities.

The professional background and expertise of CARAS IRB members includes:

  • Kink/BDSM/Leather communities

  • Anthropology

  • Art History

  • Gender Studies

  • Law

  • Medicine

  • Psychology

  • Public Health

  • Regulatory Affairs

  • Religious Studies

  • Sexology

  • Social Work

  • Sociology