In the December 3, 2015 issue of The New York Review of Books, Marcia Angell reviewed the latest book by Bioethics program director Robert Klitzman, The Ethics Police?: The Struggle to Make Human Research Safe.
In her review, Angell provides a broad description of the topic of medical research on human subjects. She discusses the role of "institutional review boards (IRBs) to review federally funded human research." Here, she quotes Klitzman: “It is remarkable that the question of how IRBs themselves actually work, make decisions, and view and understand these [ethical] quandaries has received relatively little attention. Only a few studies of IRBs have been published, and these have focused on procedural and logistical issues."
She describes Klitzman's interviews with many IRB members, and his analysis on the ethical questions arising from the entanglement between the IRB who review research and the institutions (usually hospitals) who put pressure on IRBs to receive funding.
Angell praises Klitzman's nuanced approach: "Klitzman seems to like the people he interviewed; he approves of what they are trying to do, and wants to present them fairly. But he is also aware of the inconsistencies and confusion their comments reveal, and he clearly understands the implications."