Spring 2023 Updates and News

Hello everyone! We have a handful of updates and reminders for you as you are wrapping up the spring semester.

Retiring or leaving UWM?

If you are leaving UWM or retiring, please contact our office to let us know so we can get your studies closed or transferred appropriately. If you need your departure to remain confidential for the time being, just let us know. See attached for more detailed guidance on whether and how to close and transfer your IRB protocols.

Confidentiality during virtual focus groups

Earlier this year, we received a report of a situation where a research participant recorded the focus group they participated in. When doing virtual focus groups, check your meeting settings to ensure only the host (researcher) can record. However, please note that this only prevents recording within Zoom/Teams; it is still possible to record the meeting using other types of software. For that reason, we also recommend that you ask all participants not to record the focus group session via other software or devices.

IRB Office phone number in consent forms

The IRB office transitioned to a new phone number with the switch to Teams in 2020. However, we are still seeing a number of consent forms, including in new study submissions, with outdated contact information for the IRB. Please check all your consent forms and ensure they are updated to our new phone number, 414-662-3544. You don’t need to submit an amendment for this administrative change.

Helpful tips for amendments submitted with new process

For studies that were approved beginning Fall 2021, there is a new process for amendments where you are actually creating a copy of the existing Application xForm and editing the relevant sections. A few helpful tips:

  • The first time you submit an amendment with this new process, several questions will appear at the beginning of the form asking you to describe the changes, why you are making them, etc.
  • In all subsequent amendments, this text will be saved from the last one. However, you can delete the old amendment description and only list the new/current changes. This helps clarify for us what is a new change vs. what was previously approved, and also avoids cluttering up the form too much.
  • After the basic amendment description, go through the entire form and edit anything that has changed. You don’t need to worry about highlighting or marking the changes in the form itself. The system will automatically highlight any question that has been edited, and we have a “View Audit” button that allows us to see what specifically was changed. However, attachments will still need all changes marked in some way (tracked changes is preferred).
  • If you are adding a new document, it’s helpful if you can add a note or indicate in the amendment description that the document is new and have not been previously reviewed/approved.

For more details related to submitting an amendment, please see our website.


Good luck to you as you finish out your semester!

Your friendly IRB staff,

Melody & Leah