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The Belmont Report
Public Health Institutional Review Board (PH IRB)

Protecting the rights of persons participating in research

The Public Health Division has established the Public Health IRB (PH IRB) - an administrative body created to review research studies to ensure that the rights and well-being of people who are subjects in research are adequately protected.

The PH IRB serves as the IRB for both the Public Health Division (PHD) and Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD). Both of these agencies are committed to the concept of ethical research and reviewing all research involving human subjects, regardless of funding source. 

To affect the reviews, the PH IRB is structured and functions in accordance with the Common Rule (45 CFR 46.) Each agency has a federal wide assurance in place with the Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP) and as such, no human subject research may be initiated without prior IRB approval.

  • OHA-Public Health Division FWA# 00000520
  • Multnomah County Health Department FWA# 00004186

PH IRB approval is required for all research with human subjects if any one or more of the following applies:

  • The research is sponsored by either PHD or MCHD;
  • The research is conducted by or under the direction of an employee or agent of PHD or MCHD in connection with his or her agency responsibilities; or using any property of PHD or MCHD;
  • The research involves the use of PHD or MCHD non-public information to identify or contact human research subjects or prospective subjects;
  • The research involves the use of PHD or MCHD's data;
  • Funding for the research will be handled through PHD or MCHD, but the research will be done at another location.

For more information on the authority and scope of expertise the PH IRB has, please see the PH IRB Policy & Procedures Manual.

How to Submit a Research Project to the IRB

When PHD or MCHD data is requested for research, the PH IRB Coordinator will direct the investigator to first contact the Program to see if disclosure of the data is possible, and if so, what the program requires in order to agree upon its release.  Below are process maps demonstrating the data request and IRB processes for both internal research teams at the PHD or MCHD and external.


Investigators wishing to pursue PH IRB approval for a research project must submit the following information:

  • Initial Review Questionairre
  • Protocol and grant application
  • Data Use Agreements
  • All key personnel CV's and proof of human subjects research training
  • If applicable: recruitment flyer, phone scripts, consent/assent forms, authorization form, assessment instruments or questionnaires, and any other material that a research subject may be reviewing.
  • For more detailed information on the submission, please see Page 20 of the PH IRB Policy & Procedures Manual, "Information the Investigator Provides"

All material must be forwarded to the Public Health IRB Coordinator. It is asked that before obtaining the appropriate signatures and formatting the study documentation as a PDF, you save WORD copies for your files as revisions will likely be requested throughout the duration of your study. Submit material to:

IRB Coordinator
OHA Public Health Division
800 NE Oregon St., Ste. 930
Portland OR 97232 

Submissions which are found to be incomplete or where the information may be lacking, incorrect, or inconsistent will not be forwarded to the IRB Chair for final determination until such issues have been resolved. This applies to all submissions requiring full, expedited, or exempt PH IRB review.

Meeting Dates and Application Deadlines

Application material must be received by the deadline in order for the project to be reviewed at the appropriate PH IRB meeting. This applies to those studies in which a Full Board review will be required, meaning the research is not considered a minimal risk study. No exceptions will be allowed.  

Contact Information
IRB Coordinator