Monday, May 14, 2012

The Evolution of AAHRPP’s Accreditation Standards

The research enterprise has seen significant changes in the decade since we introduced AAHRPP’s first accreditation standards, yet today the standards are more relevant than ever.

One reason is that the original standards were on the mark. They were rooted in ethical principles and sound research practices. Equally important, the original standards recognized the activities and controls that are at the heart of quality research protections.

Like our accredited organizations, AAHRPP is committed to continuous quality improvement. By 2009, we had identified opportunities to update the AAHRPP Accreditation Standards to keep pace with the more global research landscape. We also had listened to accredited organizations and responded to their concerns about the need for more flexibility and less burdensome processes.

After a fairly lengthy public comment period, we launched a new and streamlined set of standards that strengthened human research protection programs (HRPPs) by accomplishing the following:

  • Addressing new, pressing issues such as conflicts of interest, community-based participatory research, data monitoring, and transnational research.
  • Organizing the AAHRPP Accreditation Standards in a more logical framework in three domains instead of the earlier five.
  • Better defining the roles and responsibilities of the entities within an HRPP.
  • Consolidating the numbers of standards and elements.
  • Giving organizations more flexibility to develop their own approach to complying with the AAHRPP Accreditation Standards.

We understand the challenges that organizations face when pursuing AAHRPP accreditation, so we are determined not to make it a moving target. At the same time, our overriding commitment is to strong research protections.

Today’s AAHRPP Accreditation Standards reflect both of these positions, and the resulting benefits extend to all of us: accredited organizations, research participants, and the research enterprise as a whole.

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