I may see dead people, but now that I’m an IRB Coordinator, I don’t oversee the use of their data in research.
By Haley Joel Osmond’s character in “The Sixth Sense”
First, let’s just get one thing out of the way: I have a name. So why do I reference HJO instead of telling you my name? Because all anyone remembers from that movie is his adorably terrified face and his name. Oh, and that Bruce Willis had finally just embraced baldness and damn if he didn’t look spectacular (even for a dead guy — oops, spoiler alert!).
With that out of the way, I want to talk about my new passion: regulatory compliance. That’s right — I got out of the scared kid game and super into the common rule.
Now that I’m an IRB Coordinator, I don’t worry about the deceased quite as much. Do I still see their tortured faces on my commute, at the gym, and in the bagel shop? Of course I do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. What’s different is that I no longer have to worry about their data being used in research. You see, IRBs don’t have oversight of data belonging to the deceased (or a “decedent”) since they do not meet the definition of a “human subject.” So now, when Abraham Lincoln’s ghost approaches me about the flagrant intellectual property violations in the 2012 sleeper hit “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” I can tell him, “Abe, you know I’d love to help you out, but that’s outside my jurisdiction.” Seriously, though, that guy’s the best.
If you do want to use decedent data for your research, the best thing to do is to fill out a decedents form and email it to CHR_complianceapprovals@kpchr.org.