• Why WIRB
  • Who We Are
  • Services Overview
  • Our Mission
  • Leadership Team
  • WIRB History

With more than 40 years’ experience reviewing protocols, and a distinguished staff of full-time physicians, Certified IRB Professionals (CIPs), lawyers, and research professionals, we can ensure that your study receives expert guidance and a streamlined review process.
More services
Imagine one point of contact for all your needs. IRB review, biosafety, translation, international protocols—no matter how complicated your study, WIRB has the capacity and expertise to assist you. We are also the only independent IRB to offer additional safety services.

We make it easy
Our job is to simplify complexity. Responsive account representatives are ready to answer questions and help you successfully submit and track your protocol. Use our web portal to get step-by-step instructions, estimate turnaround times, track progress, and more.

We are there for subjects as well, with a live operator available any time of day and a WIRB staff physician always on call for inquiries about significant safety concerns or emergencies.

International reach
If you are planning an international study, WIRB can help pave the way for a compliant review around the world. We have more global contacts, and we have participated in more studies and regulatory consultations worldwide, than any other independent IRB.

We know the importance of acquiring and maintaining the highest level of accreditation. We were the first independent IRB to receive AAHRPP accreditation, and we have maintained that accreditation since 2003. We have Certified IRB Professionals (CIPs) on our staff and we are listed on more than half of all registered Federalwide Assurances (FWAs) for federally funded, human subject research.


The Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB) was founded in 1968 to provide human subject protection in research. Over the years, we have expanded our services to meet the ever-changing needs of the global research community. Today, WIRB offers review services for more than 400 institutions, all major sponsors, most Contract Research Organizations (CROs), coordinating groups, and individual investigators—in all 50 states and around the world.

Services Overview

IRB Services
Regulatory requirements, multi-site coordination, institutional needs—there are many complexities that can slow down research. With our unparalleled regulatory expertise and experience, WIRB can manage these complexities and ensure your research gets a thorough review quickly.

Learn more about our IRB Services.

Clinical Pharmacology Unit Services
The clock is always ticking for clinical pharmacology research. WIRB’s Clinical Pharmacology Unit Services division is set up to respond quickly for fast and thorough review of Phase 1 studies and beyond.

Learn more about our CPU Services.

Institutional Biosafety Committee Services
Safe storage, handling, and disposal of gene-modified, biohazardous materials—these issues are among the many challenges for investigators and sponsors of research involving recombinant DNA. WIRB’s Institutional Biosafety Committee Services (IBCS) can help your team navigate this complicated process and protect the safety of staff, communities, and the environment.

Learn more about our IBC Services.

Education and Consulting
Improve your ability to maintain compliance and protect human subjects with guidance from our experienced educators and consultants. We offer a wide array of training, consulting, and staffing services for investigators, institutions, and sponsors. WIRB can help you write your protocol or your consent form, provide regulatory support for local IRBs, and deliver insights about IBCS issues.

Learn more about our Education and Consulting Services.

Global Services
With review experience in more than 70 countries, including Canada, WIRB can help you meet all the logistical, cultural, and regulatory challenges of international research. If you are planning an international study, WIRB’s established international network and deep knowledge of global regulations and cultural sensitivities can help pave the way for a compliant review around the globe.

Learn more about our Global Services.

Our Mission

The Mission of the Western Institutional Review Board is to Protect the Rights and Welfare of the Human Research Subject.

To accomplish our mission, we strive to:
  • Ensure that the risks of scientific advancement shall never outweigh the value of human life.

  • Follow our traditions while embracing new technologies and practices.

  • Maintain appropriate ethical conduct and regulatory compliance.

  • Honor our hallmark of respect for all persons.

  • Engage in a continuing quest for excellence.

"WIRB is a true pioneer in the ethical review process. With over 400 professional staff and IRB Board members, WIRB has deep domain expertise in all types and phases of human research. No other organization can match our balance of efficiency and quality and do it globally. I invite you to experience the WIRB Advantage."

— Laurie L. Jackson, CPA, MBA
Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer

  • Compliance, Medical Affairs, IBC, and DSM
  • Executive and Corporate Management

David G. Forster, JD, MA, CIP
Chief Compliance Officer

R. Bert Wilkins, JD, MHA, CIP
Director, Regulatory Affairs

Melissa G. Havens, JD, MBA, CIP
General Counsel and Company Secretary

Carrie Fisher, PhD
Director, Enterprise Programs Development

A History of WIRB

The Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB) was established in 1968 to provide human subject protection for endocrinology research conducted by Dr. Angela Bowen, the founder, past president and CEO of WIRB. The Board later reviewed a variety of research for other investigators in the local community. WIRB was incorporated in 1977. A need for independent IRB review services increased in 1981, when the FDA regulations became effective. In response, WIRB established its current central IRB structure, allowing an expanded clientele to be served not only in the local community but also across the United States.

With the changing regulatory environment of the late 1990s, WIRB extended its institutional services to several large university IRBs and other local IRBs. WIRB provides services to a growing number of institutions, while continuing to serve independent researchers around the world.

We began offering Institutional Biosafety Committee Services in 2000, followed by Data and Safety Monitoring Services. In 2007, WIRB started a panel devoted to Phase 1 research, which has since expanded to reviewing all types of dedicated clinical pharmacology research.

Responding to global needs

WIRB strives to respond to the evolving needs of the global research community and has provided services internationally since 1986.

In response to Canada’s revised research review requirements, WIRB established a panel to review research conducted in Canada. The panel, whose standing membership is composed of Canadian nationals, held its first review meeting in October 2001.

To help improve standards for medical research and regulations around the world, WIRB established the International Fellows Program in 2002. Conducted in partnership with the World Health Organization, Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Washington, this six-month training program is for foreign health care professionals who want to learn how to establish or improve review boards in their regions. We have continued to expand our international network, and we now have experience working in more than 70 countries.


In 2003, WIRB was the first independent IRB to be accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP). In 2006, 2009 and again in 2014, AAHRPP renewed WIRB’s accreditation status.


The Applied Research Ethics National Association established the Council for Certification of IRB Professionals (CCIP) in 1999 to advance the quality of human subject protection programs through a voluntary certification program initiated in 2000. A WIRB staff member was part of the first group to be recognized by CCIP as a Certified IRB Professional (CIP), and more than 50 WIRB employees have since become Certified IRB Professionals.


Now WIRB provides review services for more than 400 institutions (academic centers, hospitals, networks, and in-house biotech research), as well as for individual investigators in all 50 states and internationally. WIRB has worked with all major pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, contract research organizations (CROs), and the biotech industry.