On Monday, University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso officials renewed their commitment to work collaboratively and expand opportunities for biomedical and health science research between both institutions.
UTEP President Heather Wilson and TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., recently signed an agreement in which research-oriented faculty at both universities will engage in joint research projects that involve neuroscience, drug therapies, cancer prevention, and health disparities to advance health-related research, education and health care practices in the Paso del Norte region.
To facilitate these projects, each institution has taken steps to streamline their institutional review board (IRB) process, which reviews research proposals and provides oversight of research studies involving human subjects.
“Our faculty identified some barriers to working together and showed us how to fix them,” UTEP President Heather Wilson said. “Rick Lange and I each believe UTEP and TTUHSC El Paso should be close partners in research and teaching. This is a good step toward deepening our partnership.”
“TTUHSC El Paso and UTEP share a mission of eliminating health care disparities in the Paso del Norte region while researching treatments for diseases that affect our border population,” said TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange. “Collaborative research helps open the door for discoveries that will benefit the health of our community, and we look forward to a strong partnership between our universities.”
UTEP and TTUHSC El Paso each will appoint a faculty or staff member to serve on the IRB of the other institution. Following guidelines implemented by The University of Texas System, one institution’s IRB can serve as the IRB of record. IRB administrators will meet regularly to share information and address and solve problems. They also will participate in preparatory sessions to determine which institution’s IRB will be used for each research project.
Both universities plan to conduct joint educational campaigns to raise awareness among faculty and researchers on how to collaborate and secure IRB review on joint projects.