Vulnerable Populations:

A Systematic Exploration of IRB Review and Oversight

Overview and Objectives

This online workshop explores the complex and varied issues associated with research on, about, and including vulnerable populations. Speakers employ an expanded definition of vulnerability, discussing not only research with vulnerable populations as defined by the federal regulations, but also research with individuals with disabilities, undocumented individuals, individuals who are critically ill or at the end of life, and victims of epidemics and other disasters. This workshop provides case studies and practical steps to help IRBs incorporate additional oversight protections when vulnerable individuals or situations are involved.

Recorded live on April 30, 2018, this program offers the dynamic, interactive experience of an in-person event in a flexible online format. This online workshop is a series of self-paced units comprising six hours of video content. Learners can pause at any time, revisit previous sections, and view the workshop in multiple sessions.

During this workshop, speakers:

  • Provide an overview of the concept of vulnerability and provide an analytical framework learners can use to identify potentially vulnerable subjects
  • Review the basic ethical principles and regulations that guide research with vulnerable populations
  • Discuss case examples of different types of vulnerabilities and explore how to think about these examples in the context of clinical and social, behavioral, and educational research
  • Discuss the threshold questions an IRB should address when reviewing research that proposes to include vulnerable populations or situations
  • Review the additional risks and burdens that might be imposed upon vulnerable subjects and discuss how to more thoroughly consider the risk/benefit ratio when conducting research with vulnerable populations
  • Provide examples of how to incorporate additional protections into informed consent
  • Examine the special considerations study teams should address when designing and conducting a study involving these populations and that IRBs should be aware of when reviewing these studies (e.g., payment and undue influence, recruitment, maintaining contact with subjects, confidentiality, etc.)
  • Review emerging issues and novel approaches to digital and mobile health research including vulnerable populations

Continuing Education

CIP Credit label Workshop participants holding the Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) credential may apply 6 continuing education credits towards CIP recertification. Learn More »


Please email if you have additional questions.


Bruce C. Gordon, MD

Bruce C. Gordon, MD

Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Regulatory Affairs; Executive Chairman, IRB
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Jeremy N. Block, PhD, MPP

Jeremy N. Block, PhD, MPP

Managing Partner, Venture Catalyst
Adjunct Professor, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs
Baruch College, The City University of New York


Individual nonmembers can become a PRIM&R member at no additional cost by adding membership to their shopping cart before purchasing the workshop.*

Member $345
Nonmember $544
Nonmember rate + Membership $544

Individual registration grants individual access only to the person registered. If you plan to have more than one individual attend, please register each person separately, or register together at the group rate (see below). Member status is not transferable for the purposes of individual registration.

Member $1,325
Nonmember $1,524
Nonmember rate + Membership* $1,524

Group registration is for two or more individuals who work together directly at the same institution. There is no limit to the number of users who may attend from each group, but institutions with multiple campuses or locations are required to purchase a separate group registration for each location. It is the responsibility of the person whose name is used to register the group to distribute the login information to colleagues and to share the link to the workshop on demand with the other members of the group. Only one member of the group needs to be a PRIM&R member in order to receive the member group rate.


This course is nonrefundable and nontransferable.