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Book and Media Reviews
September 5, 2007

Evaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on Humans: A Guide for IRB Members

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(9):1065-1070. doi:10.1001/jama.298.9.1069

The book Evaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on Humans: A Guide for IRB Members is an admirably comprehensive volume designed to impart the experience and wisdom of its author, Dennis J. Mazur, in the area of preparing and evaluating institutional review board (IRB) submissions.

The book succeeds in this goal. More importantly, Mazur never wavers from his overarching aim, ie, “the protection of study participants (and) their well-being during and after participation in the study” (p 152). In fact, Mazur's belief in the need to protect study participants (as part of his humanizing efforts, he shies away from referring to them as “subjects”) leads him to make and support the claim that “the IRB may be the only steadfast proponent of optimal protection of research study participants” (p 24). Throughout the volume, Mazur reiterates his conviction that research should benefit the participants at least as much as it furthers the careers of the researchers. He urges IRB members to adopt this focus. The content matter of the book is current, as indicated by references to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as ethical issues of recent concern.

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