Community Oversight Board

The purpose of the Community Oversight Board (COB) is to contribute to creating a positive environment for research that will benefit all stakeholders.

The COB is composed of external academic, professional, and community experts in human participant research and research ethics. Responsibilities include providing feedback on research-related policies, strategies, procedures, and public-facing materials to ensure that the UMN is using best practices in the protection of research participants. The COB also provides high-level monitoring of research activities at the UMN to ensure accountability and serves as a “watchdog” for arising issues. To learn more, see past COB meeting summaries and see a summary of comments shared by participants at a community forum on research with human participants hosted by the COB in October 2017.

Learn more about the rights of research participants and what it means to participate in a research study.


This list was updated on March 8, 2023

Susan Abderholden, Executive Director, NAMI Minnesota
Eunice Adjei, Administrator, Create CommUNITY
Heather Britt, Executive Director, Wilder Research, COB Chair
Nancy Dillon, Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurse, Educator/Consultant in Private Practice
Nancy Feldman, Former CEO and President, UCare
Sharon Sayles Belton, VP of Community Relations and Government Affairs, Thompson Reuters; Former Mayor of Minneapolis
Sally Trippel, Professor Emeritus, Mayo Clinic
Stella Whitney West, CEO, Northpoint Health and Wellness Center
Bruce Wolff, Professor Emeritus, Mayo Clinic
Jean Wyman, Professor, School of Nursing


On March 6, 2015, the final report of an external review examining policies, practices, and oversight of clinical research on human research participants at the University, in particular clinical research involving adult participants with diminished functional abilities, was formally presented to the UMN Faculty Senate.

In response to recommendations from the final report, an implementation work plan was finalized on June 11, 2015. The work plan called for the establishment of a Community Oversight Board, composed of a broad range of external academic, professional, and community experts, including ethicists, research participants, surrogate decision-makers, community leaders, research advocates, and service providers. The inaugural meeting of the full committee was held on February 6, 2016. The fourteen-point charge for the committee, along with the roster of original members, can be found in the Community Oversight Board Final Report.