We’ve just wrapped up a trip to Los Angeles, CA, where the annual meeting for the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) was held. For three days, approximately 300 professionals attended breakout and plenary sessions, all of which centered on accreditation. PRIM&R was one of 10 exhibitors, and in spite of it being our first time at AAHRPP, there were dozens of familiar faces—from our Board of Directors, faculty, and membership—in the crowd. (A special thanks to all those who visited our booth and inquired about our upcoming events, membership benefits, and certification initiatives!)
In its simplest form, accreditation is an investment that recognizes an institution’s commitment to excellence through an evaluation process composed of paperwork, site-visits, and audits. AAHRPP’s primary goal is to enhance protections for human subjects by promoting high quality research practices that meet demanding ethical standards. Through the accreditation process participants learn best practices for running effective and compliant human subjects research programs.
The road to accreditation can be rocky, but AAHRPP officials highlighted some reasons to make the investment through a four-part series of sessions titled, “The Value of Accreditation.” In one session, AAHRPP president and CEO, Marjorie Speers, PhD, argued that accreditation can contribute to the likelihood of favorable outcomes following inspections by regulatory bodies. Through an informal study of site inspections, decision letters, and warning letters published by the OHRP and the FDA, AAHRPP found that institutions requiring corrective action were often not AAHRPP-accredited. Looking ahead, Dr. Speers said, “AAHRPP will continue to examine government inspection outcomes, and work closely with the FDA and OHRP to recognize [AAHRPP] accreditation.”
It’s inspiring to witness dozens of professionals come together for the purpose of protecting the human subjects that help researchers advance science. This time at AAHRPP, and as ever, we were thrilled to be a part of it.