Compliance & Responsibility 

WVSOM fosters a culture of research integrity and compliance in order to ensure that WVSOM employees and students conduct research with the highest ethical standards.  All Institutional members share responsibility for upholding ethical principles in each of the areas listed below.

Additionally, in order to minimize harm to individuals and potential liability, WVSOM requires faculty, students, and staff to acquire institutional approval prior to initiating any research and/or grant projects. The institutional review process involves examination of all project elements in order to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations as well as WVSOM policies.  All research projects must be reviewed by the ORSP prior to initiating the project or submitting a protocol application to one of the committees described below.  To have a project reviewed by the ORSP, complete the Research Initiation Request Form (ORSP-1).

For more information regarding the Institutional research project process, click here.

Use of Human Subjects in Research

WVSOM holds an assurance with the Office of Human Research Protections (FWA00007632).

Before any research projects can proceed, the WVSOM Institutional Review Board (IRB) must approve any research project involving the use of human subjects including social-behavioral, educational or bio-medical research. Investigators should contact the IRB chair for details regarding IRB submission. The IRB will only review research projects that have received approval from the ORSP (completion of ORSP-1). 

IRB Policy R-05 Human Subjects Research
IRB Procedures

Did you know that the Federal Regulations regarding Human Subjects Research changed on January 21, 2019?
Some of the changes include:

  • Broad consent for collection and storage of identifiable biospecimens, which includes additional requirements in the consent discussions
  • Limited IRB review of use secondary use of identifiable data or identifiable biospecimens
  • Modifications of exempt review categories to include benign behavioral interventions
  • Reducing the requirement for continuing review for certain minimal risk studies
  • Single IRB review of multi-site studies funded by federal money (goes into effect January 2020)

Contact for additional information

Use of Animals in Research

WVSOM holds an Animal Welfare Assurance through the Office of Animal Welfare (A3238-01).

Any research proposal that uses vertebrate animals or animal tissue must have the protocol approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). PIs should contact the IACUC chair for information regarding requirements for review.  The IACUC will only review research projects that have received approval from the ORSP (completion of ORSP-1).

IACUC Policy R-01 Use of Research Animals

Additional resources regarding animal welfare are provided below.

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

PHS Policy

OLAW IACUC Guidebook

Animal Welfare Act Webpage


USDA Animal Care Policies

Contact for additional information.

WVSOM is committed to ensuring the ethical and human use of animals in research, and investigates all animal welfare concerns upon receipt.  Any WVSOM employee or member of the public having reason to question the treatment of animals at WVSOM may report their concerns regarding animal abuse, misuse, or mistreatment through this form or at the WVSOM Laboratory  Animal Welfare Hotline.  The hotline number is (304) 793-6560; you may leave a message, either anonymously or not, and your concern will be investigated upon receipt.

Conflict of Interest

Conflicts of interest may exist when external commitments that have been made by an investigator impair independent scholarly inquiry, compromise freedom of thought or action, or impede objectivity in the performance of responsibilities. To monitor conflicts of interest, WVSOM has developed a Conflict of Interest Policy in accordance with federal regulations.

Policy R-04 Conflict of Interest in Research

WVSOM must provide external research and grant sponsors with assurances regarding areas of potential physical, psychological, financial, or legal liability.

Laboratory Safety

WVSOM is committed to providing a safe working environment for its researchers.  WVSOM achieves this goal through multiple programs, plans, and committees.  These include:

  • Safety & Security Committee
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
    • It is the policy of WVSOM that all research with human tissue, infectious agents, pathogens, oncogenes, toxins or rDNA must be registered and reviewed prior to ordering and use on campus.
    • The IBC reviews all human tissue, pathogens, toxins, infectious agents, and oncogenes for appropriate safety precautions and work practices
    • The IBC reviews all work with rDNA to ensure the safe use of these substances
    • The IBC may also assist PIs in establishing appropriate Biosafety SOPs for their lab
    • Contact the IBC at
  • Infectious Medical Waste Management Plan
  • OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Guidelines and Exposure Control Plan
  • Research Laboratory Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • Occupational Health and Wellness Program through the Animal Care and Use Program

Contact the ORSP ( or the WVSOM Safety Compliance Officer with any questions concerning these programs (