Human Investigations Involving Radiology Exposure (HIRE) Committee

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Human Investigations Involving Radiology Exposure (HIRE) Committee

HIRE Overview

Use of ionizing radiation in human research in any manner that does not directly benefit the patient/subject (i.e. beyond standard of care) must be approved by the Radiation Safety Committee (RSC), specifically the Human Investigations Involving Radiation Exposure (HIRE) subcommittee.

The main roles of the HIRE committee are:

  1. Ensure the safe, effective use and proper design of research studies that involve the use of ionizing radiation
  2. Provide estimates of radiation dose to subjects in those trials that convey the risk of participating in the trial or study, through proper consent language

The HIRE Committee

The HIRE committee is made up of medical physicists, health physicists, and practicing physicians.  The current committee members are:

  • Allen Goode, MS, DABR (Medical Physicist)
  • Patricia Judy, PhD (Medical Physicist)
  • Robert Mulder, PhD (Medical Physicist)
  • Deborah Steva, MS (Health Physicist)
  • J. Fritz Angle, MD (Radiologist)
  • Klaus Hagspiel, MD (Radiologist)
  • Bernie Schneider, MD (Radiation Oncologist)

Does my study need HIRE committee review?

If your study does not involve exposure to radiation (e.g. CT scans, X-rays, administration of radiopharmaceuticals) beyond standard of care, you do not need to include a radiation risk statement in the consent form. Standard of care means that the patient would receive the scan, X-ray, etc. even if they did not participate in the study.

If your study involves a single X-ray procedure that is listed below under "Uses of Ionizing Radiation That Do Not Need to Be Reviewed by the HIRE Committee" ( click here to jump ahead to this list), you may insert the appropriate language provided.  If you use the exact wording as listed, the protocol and consent form will not need to be reviewed by the HIRE committee.  You must, however, send an email to Allen Goode (agoode@virginia.edu). Please state in the email that your study does not require review and reference the consent language used.

If your study involves exposure to radiation for research purposes (other than those listed below), you will need to fill out one (or both depending on the study) of the following forms:

X-Ray Imaging for Research Form Nuclear Medicine Imaging for Research Form

MRI Scan

There is no radiation exposure to a patient who receives an MRI scan, however, standard language is provided below for use in the consent form.

“MRI scanning is a painless procedure that only requires that you lie quietly on a padded table that gently glides you into a large magnet.  While the scanner is performing your scan, you will hear some humming and thumping sounds. These are normal and should not worry you. Because of the magnetic field and radio frequencies, people with a heart pacemaker, brain, aneurysm clips, and some implanted metallic or electrical devices should NOT have an MRI. It is important that you inform the technologist if you have any of these metallic appliances. Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or think that you may be pregnant. You also may need to have dye placed in your vein, and the technologist performing your scan will discuss this with you at the time of your scan.”


Uses of Ionizing Radiation That Do Not Need to Be Reviewed by the HIRE Committee

The following consent language may be used for protocols that involve a single X- ray procedure.  These are procedures where the exposure to ionizing radiation results in a total effective dose to the study participant that is less than or equal to 300 mrem (millirem).  (Note: mrem is a unit of measurement of dose; it describes how much energy is absorbed by the body from radiation).

Abdominal X-Ray (1 film)

"This study involves radiation exposure from an abdominal x-ray. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 150 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Barium Swallow (24 images)

"This study involves radiation exposure from x-rays of your stomach. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 240 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Chest X-Ray (PA)

"This study involves radiation exposure from a chest x-ray. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 3 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Chest X-Ray (PA + lat)

"This study involves radiation exposure from chest x-rays. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 10 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

DEXA (Bone Mineral Densities)

"This study involves radiation exposure from a DEXA (insert type of scan as shown below). As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about (use list below) of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Fontaine Imaging Center Hologic QDR Series Machines

  • For any one of the following scans: PA Lumbar Spine, Lateral Lumbar Spine, Hip, Whole Body or Forearm - use "less than 1 day"
  • For a pQCT - use "less than 1 day"


Note: If the machine or type of scan is not listed above, please contact Radiation Safety (2-4917) for further information.

Extremity (Hand/Foot) X-Ray

"This study involves radiation exposure from an extremity (hand, foot, etc.) x-ray. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 1 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Head CT Scan

"This study involves radiation exposure from a CT scan (x-ray) of your head. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 240 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Hip X-Ray

"This study involves radiation exposure from an x-ray of your hip. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 100 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Knee X-Ray

"This study involves radiation exposure from an x-ray of your knee. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 100 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Mammography (Standard 4 Views)

"This study involves radiation exposure from an x-ray of you breasts. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 40 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Sinus Radiographs (3 View Plane Films)

"This study involves radiation exposure from 3 x-rays of your sinus. As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to a small amount of background radiation. Background radiation comes from space and naturally-occurring radioactive minerals. The radiation dose you will receive in this study will give your body the equivalent of about 70 days' worth of this natural radiation. This radiation dose is what you will receive from this study only and does not include any exposure you may have received or will receive from other tests. The risk from this dose is considered small. This radiation exposure is not necessary for your medical care but is necessary to obtain the research information desired."

Note: If a single film is required, then the radiation dose and calculated percentage of the yearly background dose may be reduced by a third and the consent risk statement adjusted accordingly.