Medical Students in the Anatomy lab

Research Involving Student Access (RISA)

Requests involving medical students enrolled in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine need to be reviewed by the Research Involving Student Access (RISA) committee. This committee resides in the WSU College of Medicine Office of Research. The RISA committee will consider and review requests that include students as research subjects, surveys to be distributed to students and other program improvement tools that do not meet the definition of research.

The RISA Committee will review the requester’s submitted materials and make recommendations to the Vice Dean for Research. The Vice Dean serves as the final decision-making authority on issues pertaining to the involvement of College of Medicine medical students as research subjects and/or survey respondents.

The criteria used to assess requests involve:

  • The study is likely to yield benefits to current and/or future College of Medicine medical students.
  • The timing and nature of data collection does not pose a burden on students. Specifically, RISA will consider activities that medical students are already scheduled in such as exams, course reviews, experiential learning, etc. when considering the timing of research studies and general surveys.
  • The study is relevant, timely, and will advance pedagogical and health sciences research at WSU and/or other universities.

To submit a request involving medical students, please fill out the form below. A RISA committee representative will contact you with further instructions after reviewing your request.

If you are unsure that your request should be vetted through the RISA committee, please contact:

Sterling McPherson, PhD

Professor and Interim Vice Dean for Research
(509) 324-7459
View Profile

Submit a Request

  1. If your survey is voluntary and not a curricular requirement, please be sure to add a statement indicating as such in your recruitment and/or consent message. For example, “Your decision to participate in this research study (or not) will have no impact on your grades/coursework.”
  2. If your research topic involves survey questions of a sensitive nature, please be sure to add a statement indicating where students can access support. For example, “If participation in this study causes you any distress, the following resources are available to you at no charge:
    • WSU College of Medicine Student Affairs:
    • Free and confidential counseling is available to all currently enrolled College of Medicine students. Information is available on the Student Affairs page: Health and Wellness Services for MD Students
Principal Investigator(Required)
MM slash DD slash YYYY
Are you a WSU student, faculty advisor, or project advisor?(Required)
If yes, does this submission originate from a WSU College of Medicine curricular offerings?(Required)
Drop files here or
Max. file size: 195 MB.
    Drop files here or
    Max. file size: 195 MB.


      Do I need RISA Committee approval before I send out a questionnaire to students?

      It depends: If your questionnaire is part of a class, work with your course director and our Associate Dean of Research to coordinate. If you wish to survey our students about any non-course related topics, work with RISA.

      Why do I need to coordinate my survey with the RISA Committee?

      RISA Committee members are charged with monitoring the student experience and assuring that students aren’t overwhelmed or overloaded by survey requests. We also coordinate the timing of surveys, so that we can implement our own college-level Assessment and Evaluation Plan and allow students to prepare for high-stakes exams and activities without being distracted by extraneous or one-off survey requests.

      OK, what do I need to do?

      If you want to survey our students you’ll need to submit a request (and some background information) to the RISA Committee through the form above.

      Are you the research and survey police?

      No, but we are a coordinating group and you will need RISA permission before you can proceed with survey or research activities. Our committee is advisory to our Vice Dean for Research, who has oversight over all research activities in the College of Medicine. Our shared goal is to assure that students are not overloaded with survey or research requests that dilute their ability to work as effectively as possible.