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Human Subject Research Training for Community Partners

Any individual conducting human subject research is required to have completed human subject research training.

What is a "Community Partner"?

Community partners are non-academic personnel (e.g. business associates, local government representatives, school system representatives) who may or may not be engaged in research requiring IRB approval.

What is CIRTification?

CIRTification is a training program in human research protections created by the University of Illinois Chicago CCTS that is tailored to the unique roles of community research partners. It is interactive and relevant to the roles and responsibilities that community partners have in research projects. The program considers community partners’ limited experience with research, discusses key concepts in research ethics and responsible conduct of research in plain language, and focuses on applying knowledge to real-life scenarios. Ideally, CIRTification will not only teach community partners about the importance of protecting research participants, it will also empower them to be active contributors to their respective research teams. CIRTification introduces learners to the basics of the research – the terminology, people, and methods. It also reviews the history of research abuses that has informed current ethical principles, rules, and regulations.

The training program also:

  • Covers standards and best practices for:
    • Recruitment and informed consent 
    • Collecting and protecting data 
    • Handling challenges that may arise during participant interactions 
    • Reviews the role of the institutional review board in protecting the right and safety of research participants.

Will OPRS accept community partner training in place of CITI?

Yes, for anyone who is a community partner. These trainings do not replace human subjects research training required for University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign personnel engaged in research requiring IRB approval.

Who is responsible to ensure community partners receive this training?

The Principal Investigator (PI) listed in the IRB application is responsible to ensure that their community partners receive this training. IRB applications will not be approved by the IRB if the application lists community partners that have not taken this training. The PI or the staff member assisting the PI with their IRB application can forward this webpage to their community partners and direct them to the heading below, "Online Training Instructions".

Online Training or In-Person Lesson Plan

The CIRTification training program offers an individual online training program for community partners.  Alternatively, if it better meets the needs of the community partners, a curriculum with lesson plans, teaching manual, and slides have been developed.  If a UIUC investigator chooses to implement the in-person version of the CIRTification program, please consult with OPRS in advance to ensure that the training facilitator has the appropriate qualifications.  Generally, OPRS expects the principal investigator or other experienced faculty member act as the training facilitator.  Information regarding the In-Person Training can be found here: https://ccts.uic.edu/tools/cirtification/in-person/

The online version of CIRTification must be completed by an individual.   Learners complete a knowledge quiz at the end of the program and receive a date- stamped certificate of completion. The program takes about 4 hours and can be completed in multiple sessions.  CIRTification Online is also available in Spanish. Simply access the training portal, enroll in CIRTification or login, and select the option to launch the course in Spanish (empezar in Español).

Online Training Instructions

To enroll in CIRTification, please follow the instructions below. Please select the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign only from the list. If you do not select the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, you will not be able to access the user information/progress reports.

1.    Go to https://training.ccts.uic.edu/

2.    Click "Register" (top right hand corner. Select "I am not from UIC".

3.    Complete the registration form. When asked to select a site, select "University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign".

4.    Click "Register" to finish.

5.  Visit the Course Catalog. Scroll until you find information about CIRTification. Click "Learn More" and "Enroll" to enroll in CIRTification.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I access my completion certificate after completing the course?

After completing a knowledge quiz at the end of the training, the option to print and save a date-stamped certificate of completion is available. 

How should Community Partners be added to an IRB application?

Community partners who are engaging in human subjects research activities (e.g., obtaining informed consent, recruitment, data collection, interacting with identifiable private information) on a study should be listed on your research team form. Include CIRTification training completion dates on the research team form and send the CIRTification completion certificate for each community partner as an attached file when submitting your application to OPRS for review.

During the pre-review of your submission, OPRS staff will confirm CIRTification training has been completed by community partner investigators and may request signatures on a Collaborating Investigator Agreement for non-exempt research protocols.

How long is this training and the certificate valid?

This training is valid for three (3) years, the same as the CITI training. 

How do I know if community partners require training?

The investigator should discuss with OPRS the requirements if there are individuals external to UIUC who are assisting with the conduct of research.

Do I need to document or cite the use of the CIRTification program?

CIRTification is funded through the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Clinical and Translational Science and supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant UL1TR002003. We encourage mention and citation of CIRTification Online in grant proposals, conference presentations, published manuscripts, and other reporting.

Suggested citation: CIRTification Online: Community Involvement in Research Training. University of Illinois at Chicago, Center for Clinical and Translational Science.