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Research Ethics




Research, along with education and clinical care, are the three essential activities of  IWK Health. The Research Ethics Board (REB) serves to assist members of the research community to conduct ethically acceptable research involving humans.

All research that involves human subjects, their information or their tissue, requires review and approval by the REB before it may begin. Research proposals are assessed for ethical acceptability using regional, national and international guidelines. The IWK Health Research Ethics guidelines and operating procedures provide direction in regard to research involving IWK families and personnel. Since research ethics is a continually evolving subject, these guidelines may be modified from time to time. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure that they are using the most recent version.

The REB Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) also provides important information on the Board's operations and requirements of investigators and research staff. The SOP’s should be read in conjunction with these guidelines.

Guidelines, SOP’s and Related Notices are regularly updated.

To facilitate the review of Full Board REB Submissions, Principal Investigators (or their designate) may be invited to attend the REB meeting. Investigators will be notified of the time and location of the REB meeting 10 days prior to the meeting date if their attendance is requested.

Investigators will be invited to make a short (10 minute) informal presentation of the research study and REB members may follow-up with a few clarifying questions. Additionally, investigators may volunteer to come to the REB to briefly present their REB submission. This can be particularly helpful with unique or complex projects. Simply contact the research ethics office 10 days prior to the meeting to be added to the agenda.

The REB review and Summary of REB Issues will follow in the usual manner. Investigators will not be in attendance during the review of their submission.

IWK Responsible Conduct of Research Policy

The Responsible Conduct of Research policy establishes expectations for the responsible conduct of research at the IWK and outlines processes for handling allegations of research misconduct.


IWK Research Ethics Board Membership (June 2021)

  • Christopher Blackmore, MD – Co-Chair – Clinical Researcher, Pediatric Surgery
  • Eleanor Fitzpatrick – Co-Chair – Clinical Researcher, Nursing
  • Jill Hatchette, PhD – Consulting Scientist (Lead – Education and Ethics)
  • Victoria Allen, MD – Clinical Researcher, Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Jehier Afifi, MD – Clinical Researcher, Neonatal Pediatrics
  • Janet Curran, PhD – Clinical Researcher, Nursing
  • Kellie Davis, MD – Clinical Researcher, Medical Genetics
  • Carol Digout – Researcher, APPHON
  • Bryan Fader – Lay Representative
  • Zara Forbrigger – Research Assistant, Research/Hematology/Oncology
  • Isabelle French – Legal Representative, Dalhousie University
  • Shannan Grant, PhD – Clinical Researcher, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics
  • Daddy Mata-Mbemba, MD – Clinical Researcher, Diagnostic Imaging
  • Mari Somerville, PhD - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Dalhousie University
  • Megan Thomas, MD – Clinical Researcher, Developmental Pediatrics
  • Francois Tremblay, MD – Clinical Researcher, Pediatric Ophthalmology





Submission Dates 2021:

September 28, 2021 for the October REB Meeting
October 26, 2021 for the November REB Meeting
November 30, 2021 for the December REB Meeting


Submission Dates 2022:

January 25, 2022 for the February REB meeting
February 22, 2022 for the March REB meeting
March 29, 2022 for the April REB meeting
April 26, 2022 for the May REB meeting
May 31, 2022 for the June REB meeting
June 28, 2022 for the July REB meeting
August - no REB meeting
September 27, 2022 for the October REB meeting
October 25, 2022 for the November REB meeting
November 29, 2022 for the December REB meeting


Meeting Dates 2021:

September 21, 2021
October 19, 2021
November 16, 2021
December 21, 2021


Meeting Dates 2022:

January 18, 2022 – REB Retreat
February 15, 2022
March 15, 2022
April 19, 2022
May 17, 2022
June 21, 2022
July 19, 2022
August – no meeting held in August
September 20, 2022
October 18, 2022
November 15, 2022
December 20, 2022


REB Submissions Requiring Delegated Review (minimal risk):

  • May be submitted at any time.
  • REB review comments are normally provided to the investigator within 14 days of submission.
  • It is recommended investigators avoid the deadline dates noted above when submitting delegated (minimal risk) projects, as reviews may be delayed if received on the deadline date for full board submissions.
  • Please also note, delegated submissions may be delayed during holiday periods or when the REB is experiencing increased volume, for example Summer studentship applications. Get your submissions in early!





The ROMEO Research Portal

The IWK REB uses the online ROMEO Research Portal for the management of ethics applications and grant/award applications. The Research Portal provides researchers and study team members including co-investigators, research coordinators, and other study staff, the ability to see and manage the submission and approval process for their research studies. Through a single login, you may review all existing projects underway at the IWK and NSHA.


If you require an Investigator Profile to gain access to ROMEO, please take a few moments to fill out the form below. Note that we process the forms Monday to Friday (8am-4pm), please plan ahead.

New User - Registration Request

The IWK has several user guides to help with the management of your study:

ROMEO Training:

If you would like to schedule a training session on using the Research Portal, please email Joanne Street at


If you have any questions regarding ROMEO and the Research Portal, please contact Joanne Street, Ethics Coordinator, Research Services at 902.476.3523 or


Guidelines and Templates

New Applications


Ongoing Study Activities

SAE Reporting

REB Reviewers' Tools




Recommended Reading





Our Primary Purpose:

The IWK is committed to the health and well-being of women, children, youth and families. From a research perspective, the population we serve is an integral part of how we investigate, implement and evaluate how we deliver care. As important stakeholders, we are committed to our research participants by ensuring that research is carried out with their interests and safety at the forefront. The Research Review (formerly referred to as the Research Ethics Audit) is designed to ensure that as researchers we are engaging in due diligence and complying with the ethical standards laid out by the Tri-Council.

The Review process is intended to fulfill the commitment of Research Services to ensuring the safety and privacy of our research participants, but also to ensure that IWK Health (a.) consistently conducts research with high quality scientific and ethical standards, (b.) complies with the requirements that are laid out locally, nationally and internationally, and (c.) maintains internal systems that are comprehensive and sensitive enough to guarantee the highest quality of ethical standards in research. The Review should not be considered a penalty but rather a quality assurance process through which both Research Services and the Research Team can benefit.

If your project is selected for audit you will receive notification several weeks in advance of the scheduled date and time. Every effort will be made to accommodate your schedule. The Principal Investigator is invited to attend the Audit session but research assistants or coordinators are also encouraged to take part.

The document linked below provides further information about the IWK REB Audit Committee and process. Feel free to contact Research Services if you have any questions.

Email Address:

IWK Research Review Guidelines

Research Site Map


Contact Us

IWK Health Research Services
5850/5980 University Ave
PO Box 9700
Nova Scotia, B3K 6R8

If you have a general question about research, our services, facilities or programs please email us below.

If you are looking for a specific individual from one of our departments or facilities please select the button below to view the research services team (individual contact information is provided here).


Research E-Bulletin

If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive our weekly E-Bulletin let us know. Our E-Bulletin is updated with upcoming educational opportunities and accomplishments. Be part of our research community.