Participating DOE Laboratories and Sites

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education is a DOE facility focusing on scientific initiatives to research health risks from occupational hazards, assess environmental cleanup, respond to radiation medical emergencies, support national security and emergency preparedness, and educate the next generation of scientists. ORISE is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

Human subjects research includes both long-term and short-term studies of health problems at DOE facilities. Studies include the health of former radiation and beryllium workers at DOE plants, as well as international programs supported by DOE. In addition, ORISE organizes and conducts focus groups, interviews, and surveys to determine health education needs of community residents, develops new communication formats for occupational health and safety specifically geared to meet the needs of small business, and studies behavioral issues that impact the workplace, such as human reliability and personnel security.

ORAU manages the single independent Institutional Review Board (IRB) in Oak Ridge: the Oak Ridge Sitewide Institutional Review Board (ORSIRB) that serves all the Oak Ridge Operations contractors that conduct or propose research involving human subjects. The ORSIRB also provides local and site-specific IRB reviews required for projects involving workers at Oak Ridge facilities proposed by non-Oak Ridge institutions.

Also of note is the Former Worker Medical Surveillance Program conducted for interested former workers from the Oak Ridge complex and sponsored by the DOE Office of Health, Safety and Security (HS-15). The ORSIRB conducts initial and ongoing reviews of standard medical screening protocols, informational materials, and consent forms for clarity and consistency.

ORAU also manages the Central Beryllium Institutional Review Board (CBeIRB), which provides a high level of expertise and diverse, experienced members to address beryllium-related human subjects protection issues. It provides DOE, DOE contractors, and other organizations engaged in research on beryllium exposure, testing, or disease funded by DOE and/or involving the DOE workforce with a thorough and consistent review that is essential to protection of the volunteer subjects in these programs. See the ORISE Protecting Human Subjects Web site.

ORAU is responsible for assembling and reviewing yearly status updates for the Human Subjects Research Database (HSRD). Information and summary statistics on projects involving the DOE are made available on the HSRD Web site maintained by ORISE.

Content reviewed: November 12, 2013