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A Q&A with David Cifu about the VCU Scientific Review Committee

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By: Sydney Bernstein-Miller

The Scientific Review Committee (SRC) was recently adopted by Virginia Commonwealth University and the VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research.
David X. Cifu, M.D., chairman and Herman J. Flax, M.D. Professor for the VCU Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and founding director for the VCU Center for Rehabilitation Sciences and Engineering, answered questions about the SRC and what exciting new opportunities it brings to research at VCU.


Can you briefly explain what the Scientific Review Committee is?
The Scientific Review Committee (SRC) is a group that provides study design, analytic planning and operational feasibility peer review of clinical research before it is reviewed by the IRB. The SRC ensures that all research projects involving humans at VCU meet acceptable standards of scientific rigor and feasibility without obstructing institutional efficiency or timeliness.

Why is VCU creating a SRC? The formation of an SRC at VCU places our university in alignment with the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) vision of the future. VCU is among many other leading research universities adopting a formal review committee.

How does the SRC process work?
The SRC process is designed to maximize efficiencies and provide comprehensive reviews in a timely manner by collaborating and cooperating with all other entities directed to human research. Principal investigators will submit their protocols to the IRB as per usual procedure. If the protocol is to be reviewed by the SRC, the investigator will be informed. The SRC meets weekly and communication between the reviewers and study team is encouraged.

Who can I contact with questions?
Jennifer Economy, SRC executive director, can be reached at or by phone at either 804-827-0472 (work) or 804-514-6360 (cell)