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Doctoral and Masters Fieldwork

For an overview of SPH HRPP requirements for Fieldwork students,
check out our HRPP Fieldwork Orientation video on the Video Tutorials page!

As part of their public health training, all doctoral and masters students are required to engage with the SPH HRPP Office during their Fieldwork. All Fieldwork students must provide information about their proposed projects via the SPH Human Subjects Research (HSR) Assessment Form before beginning any work. The purpose of this form is to enable the HRPP Office to determine whether a student’s project constitutes HSR (and thus requires HRPP/IRB review in IDEATE), as well as to help students think through if and how their projects involve elements of HSR.

Before completing the HSR Assessment Form, please review the below information regarding the HSR determination process.

*Please note that if you change your Fieldwork project after submitting an initial HSR Assessment Form entry, you must submit a new entry and receive a new determination from the HRPP office to fulfill the course requirement before beginning any work.

What is Human Subjects Research (HSR)?

 For a project to be considered HSR and thus require HRPP/IRB review in IDEATE, ALL the following criteria must be met:

  1. The investigator is conducting research or clinical investigation;
  2. The proposed research or clinical investigation involves human subjects; AND
  3. CUNY is engaged in the research or clinical investigation involving human subjects.

Tips for Completing the HSR Assessment Form

 

  • Be comprehensive and clear: When completing the HSR Assessment Form, students should carefully read each question and ensure their responses are clear and comprehensive. Incomplete or vague responses will delay the HRPP review process and thus receipt of a determination.
  • Don’t delay! It is the responsibility of the student to ensure they are completing this form in a timely manner and following requirements from the Office of Experiential Learning (OEL).
  • Have questions? HRPP is here to help provide guidance to students throughout this process. Contact the HRPP Office with any questions.
*Please note that completion of this form is not a substitute for development of an IRB application. The SPH HRPP Coordinator will make a determination about whether further HRPP/IRB review is needed (see below).

Steps in the HSR Determination Process

 

  1. A Doctoral or Masters student completes the SPH HSR Assessment Form.
  2. The HRPP Coordinator reviews the form entry for completeness and accuracy (up to 3 business days for initial review, plus additional time if modifications are required)
    • If needed, the HRPP Coordinator will follow up with the student for more information.
  3. Based on the information provided and follow-up with the student, the HRPP Coordinator makes one of two determinations:
    1. The project qualifies as HSR
    2. The project does not qualify as HSR
  4. The HRPP Coordinator notifies the student of their determination.
    • HSR Determination
      After the HRPP Coordinator determines that a project is HSR, a letter will be sent to the student researcher via email, informing them of the decision and outlining next steps. As specified in this letter, it is the responsibility of the student to:

      1. Upload a copy of their HSR determination letter to their Fieldwork BlackBoard site to fulfill the class’ HSR Assessment Form completion requirement.
      2. Obtain requisite CUNY HRPP/IRB approval for their project before beginning any HSR-related activities.

Student HSR project taking place at CUNY
OPTION 1: If the student will be working on an active CUNY study, they may request that the PI add them to their IRB-approved protocol (via an amendment). Precludes the need for the student to develop a new CUNY IRB application.

OPTION 2 (for exempt studies involving an external IRB only): If the student’s work fits within the initial protocol of an active IRB at another institution AND the project is exempt, they may request that the PI add them to their IRB-approved protocol (via an amendment). Precludes the need for the student to develop a new CUNY IRB application.

OPTION 3: Create and submit a new CUNY IRB application in IDEATE. The student may serve as PI on the study, however, their faculty advisor must be listed as a signatory in the IRB application. See guidance on developing a new CUNY IRB application in the Student Investigators and IDEATE Guidance sections.

Student HSR project taking place at another institution
OPTION 1 (recommended for exempt studies): If the student will be working on an active IRB protocol at another institution AND the project is exempt, they may request that the PI add them to their IRB-approved protocol (via an amendment). Precludes the need for the student to develop a new CUNY IRB application.

OPTION 2 (recommended for non-exempt studies): For non-exempt studies, establish an IRB Authorization Agreement (IAA) between CUNY and the other engaged institutions, designating the external institution as the IRB of Record for the project. Precludes the need for the student to develop a new CUNY IRB application. See guidance on developing an IAA here.

OPTION 3: Create and submit a new CUNY IRB application in IDEATE. The student may serve as PI on the study, however, their faculty advisor must be listed as a signatory in the IRB application. See guidance on developing a new CUNY IRB application in the Student Investigators and IDEATE Guidance sections.

*Note that prior IRB approval from an external institution does not cover CUNY researchers for non-exempt studies. An IAA must be established or a separate CUNY IRB application must be submitted.
    • Non-HSR Determination
      After the HRPP Coordinator determines that a project is not HSR, a letter will be sent to the student researcher via email, informing them of the decision and that no further HRPP/IRB action is needed. As specified in this letter, it is the responsibility of the student to:

      1. Upload a copy of their Non-HSR determination letter to their Fieldwork BlackBoard site to fulfill the class’ HSR Assessment Form completion requirement.
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