The age of majority in Iowa is eighteen. (Iowa Code § 599.1) For the purpose of participating in DoD-supported or conducted research, active duty service members and reserve component members are considered to be adults. If a subject is an active duty service member or reserve component member in a federal duty status, that person is considered for purposes of this Guide to be an adult, even if the person is under eighteen. (DoD Instruction, 12. Service Members and Their Status as Adults)
Military personnel may need command approval before participating in human subjects research because some research may impact readiness in the field. As part of the IRB review, investigators will be asked to provide documentation of command approval. The UI IRB requires that the documentation be in the form of an attached letter of agreement, indicating that the PI\team has permission to conduct research at the location.
Protecting Service Members from Undue Influence
Care must be taken to assure that officers and senior non-commissioned officers do not influence the decision of subordinates to participate in human subjects research and are not present during recruiting. In addition, if recruiting superior officers, they must be recruited in a separate session from their subordinates. The HawkIRB application documents military status of research team members who will obtain consent in order for the IRB to assess this requirement.
For research that has been determined by the IRB to be more than minimal risk and where recruiting is conducted in a group setting, an ombudsman must be present to ensure that information is clearly, accurately and adequately presented and that the voluntary nature of participation is emphasized. The ombudsman may be the same person that the IRB appointed as the research monitor. (DoD Instruction 7.e. DoD Personnel as Subjects (1) Military Personnel as Subjects, (a), (b), (c), and (d).)