Rocky Mountain Tribal Institutional Review Board

“Working to establish research protocols that advance the unique interests of Tribes.”

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The primary purpose of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to protect the rights and welfare of people who will be research participants.

The Rocky Mountain Tribal Institutional Review Board (RMT-IRB #0000638), established by Tribal Leaders Council Resolution #2009-06-17-03, is recognized by the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), the federal agency authorized by the Code of Federal Regulations 45 CFR 46. The RMT-IRB is registered with Indian Health Service as the IRB for the Billings Area.

The RMT-IRB serves Tribal Leaders Council member Tribes in the following ways:

  • requires community involvement and officially documented support from elected Tribal Leaders as the primary sovereign authority for their respective reservation and Tribe/s
  • endeavors to eliminate exploitative research practices where benefit flows only to external entities and not to the individuals and Tribal Populations who are actually being researched
  • strives to maximize community benefits, ensure equity, require cultural competency, and protect cultural integrity


The goals of the RMT-IRB are:

  • to promote awareness and advance the unique concerns of Tribal nations when re-search or grant projects involves their constituents
  • to ensure that researchers engage in an ethical and collaborative process resulting in mutually beneficial and constructive results;
  • to ensure all grant applications and research that involves Tribal populations and Tribal data follow Tribal protocols before these grant applications are submitted and prior to conducting any research
  • to ensure ethical treatment of Tribal populations while concurrently increasing knowledge within the respective Tribal communities themselves
  • to honor intellectual and cultural knowledge of a community



Rocky Mountain Tribal Institutional Review Board seeks to promote the sovereignty of Tribal Nations and to build on the strengths and resiliency of Tribal populations and their knowledge in general. We will do this by ensuring Tribes have the final say in the approval or rejection of research protocols, including publications.


Tribal Commitment

If a Tribe has its own IRB, RMT-IRB does not supersede the Tribal IRB. In the event the Tribe is involved in a research protocol involving two or more Tribes, the RMT-IRB will work in conjunction with the Tribal IRB to review research protocols.

If the Tribe does not have its own IRB or would like to use the RMT-IRB as its IRB of record, the RMT-IRB will enter into a signed agreement, designating the RMT-IRB as the Tribe’s IRB of record. In the future, if that Tribe develops its own IRB, the RMT-IRB will honor the Tribe’s IRB & act in a supportive role.

When the proposed grant application or research project involves more than one reservation, the Rocky Mountain Tribal Institutional Review Board will serve as the IRB of record and requires applicants comply with this more respectful approach.