(PRINCETON, NJ – June 1, 2021)

WCG IRB, the gold-standard Institutional Review Board (IRB) of ethics and human research protections, today announced the launch of its 2021 International Fellows Program. The annual program, which provides training to strengthen practices that support the safety of clinical trial participants and preserve the scientific integrity of research protocols, will be conducted virtually for one month, beginning June 1, 2021.

Established in 2002 in partnership with the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Washington, the International Fellows Program helps future leaders develop the knowledge necessary to create, manage and administer IRBs that comply with regulations and ethical standards that protect the rights and welfare of human research participants. Fellows selected for the 2021 Program come from countries around the world, including Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Tanzania, The Philippines and Uganda. To ensure their safety and the continuation of vital knowledge sharing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s program will be conducted virtually, featuring pre-recorded and live sessions led by experts from WCG IRB and NYU Langone Health.

“Now, more than ever, there’s a need for trained professionals who can provide the necessary oversight for clinical research that’s taking place around the world,” said WCG Chairman and CEO Donald A. Deieso, Ph.D. “Building on our deep IRB expertise and 50-year legacy at the forefront of clinical research, our Fellows Program provides future research leaders with deep knowledge — of regulations, guidelines and best practices in clinical trial patient protection — that they can use to establish high-quality, compliant and effective local IRBs. We’re excited to welcome the 2021 class to our International Fellows Program, who will soon join more than 200 program graduates in making significant contributions to the field of clinical research in their home countries.”

Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., Professor of Bioethics at NYU Langone and the founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics, added, “I’m delighted that we’re still able to provide Fellows with access to this unique and valuable research ethics training program during the pandemic. Together with our partners at WCG IRB, we will cover all aspects of human research participant protection, including roles and responsibilities, protocol review, the informed consent process, and pertinent regulations, guidelines, and guidance against the backdrop of COVID-19.”

Each member of the 2021 class of International Fellows completed a rigorous application process, detailing their educational and professional experience, current IRB roles and responsibilities, and how participation in the WCG IRB program would help enhance research ethics and protections in their country.

“We have endeavored to provide this year’s Fellows with a rich educational experience despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Viveca Burnette, CIP, Compliance Training & Development Coordinator at WCG IRB. “Our 2021 Capsule will consist of 20 modules taught by WCG IRB and NYU experts, followed by panel discussions on the last three days of the program featuring participants from both organizations, as well as bioethics leaders from around the globe.”

Dr. Deieso added, “While the format may have changed this year, WCG IRB’s unwavering commitment to host the International Fellows Program and share ethical review best practices with our colleagues around the world remains unabated.”

The International Fellows Programs will return to its original two-month and six-month sessions in 2022, allowing Fellows to benefit from the in-person mentorship opportunities and IRB meeting experience that they afford. To learn more about the program and the 2021 class of International Fellows, visit: https://www.wcgirb.com/about/international-fellows-program/.

About WCG IRB

WCG IRB provides the highest quality ethical reviews of clinical research protocols and studies. WCG IRB was created by combining five IRBs with different areas of expertise and geographical reach – Western IRB (WIRB), the world’s first independent ethical review board, Copernicus Group IRB, New England IRB, Aspire IRB, and Midlands IRB. WCG IRB has more than 50 years’ experience and more than 200 members on AAHRPP-accredited boards. Since 2000, WCG IRB has also provided IBC administration and review services to nearly 800 institutions and evaluated more than 400 human gene transfer protocols. For more information, please visit www.wcgirb.com or follow us on Twitter @WCGClinical or LinkedIn.