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COVID -19 Human Subjects Research

April 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

I am reaching out to provide our research community with information about some of the activities the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is taking to facilitate human subjects research during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On March 31, I convened an initial group of key stakeholders who came together as part of a newly formed COVID-19 Human Research Coordinating Committee that I will be chairing.

This committee is tasked with bringing key stakeholders together to craft a comprehensive and coordinated response to an influx of human research protocols being developed and submitted related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee will focus on establishing proactive communication, coordination, and collaboration, with our COVID-19 research projects as top priority.

The committee has identified initial steps that will contribute to these goals.

Based on the UMB research guidance issued by the President's Task Force on Research, Institutional Review Board (IRB) chair Robert Rosenthal, MD, and President's Task Force Subcommittee on Clinical Research chair Stephen Davis, MBBS, are collaborating on "coordination, resources, safety, and the facilitation of the studies that are being proposed."

Julie Doherty, DM, MSN, director of the Human Research Protections Office (HRPO), is assembling a group of UMB and University of Maryland Medical Center nursing and ancillary services personnel to identify issues and circumstances unique to the COVID-19 pandemic that may have an impact on clinical research conduct.

You can help. As you identify new research protocols that are in development, we are requesting that you notify Dr. Doherty at This will allow HRPO and IRB to move more expeditiously through the approval process. It also will allow UMB to promote a collaborative and multidisciplinary response that minimizes the impact of our important research on clinical staff and the persons, or the families of persons, infected with COVID-19.

The committee will continue to convene and identify areas related to COVID-19 human subjects research that would benefit from a collaborative and coordinated response.

Thank you for your attention. If you have questions, please contact me via email at


Susan C. Buskirk, DM, MS
Accountability Officer and Associate Vice President

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