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The AAHRPP Is A New Voluntary Accreditation And Consensus Standards Setting Body for Human Subjects Research
The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2001 to serve as a voluntary accreditation and standards setting body for human research protection programs. The AAHRPP’s press release explains that it "offers accreditation to institutions engaged in research involving human participants using a voluntary, peer-driven, educational model."

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    Association for Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs

    What is AAHPP?

    Incorporated in April 2001, the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP) is a nonprofit organization that offers accreditation to institutions engaged in research involving human participants using a voluntary, peer-driven, educational model. Responding to increased public and political scrutiny of such research, AAHRPP seeks not only to ensure compliance, but to raise the bar in human research protections by assisting institutions to reach standards that surpass the threshold of state and federal requirements.

    AAHRPP’s founders recognize that ensuring the protection of human research participants is not and cannot by the responsibility only of institutional review boards. Rather, it is a duty shared by all who conduct research, all of whom have a stake in assuring the public that such research - which holds so much promise to improve health and the quality of life - will be carried out safely. By establishing the "gold seal" signifying adherence to a rigorous set of human protection standards, accreditation by AAHRPP will help ensure consistency and uniformity among all institutions conducting biomedical, behavioral and social sciences research.

    Who created AAHRPP?

    AAHRPP is the creation of seven nonprofit funding member organizations representing the leadership of universities, medical schools and teaching hospitals; biomedical, behavioral and social scientists; and patient and disease advocacy organizations:

    • Association of American Medical Colleges
    • Association of American Universities
    • Consortium of Social Science Associations
    • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
    • National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges
    • National Health Council
    • Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research

    Why form AAHRPP?

    The founding member organizations crated AAHRPP to ensure that scientific research can continue to grow and flourish under conditions where the best interests of research participants will be protected. Recent shutdowns of research programs around the country underscored the need to ensure greater consistency of high standards for the protection for human research participants, across the many settings in which such research is carried out. In creating an accreditation organization founded by bioethicists, patient advocates, medical investigators and research institutions, AAHRPP represents the full complement of perspectives needed to encourage continued confidence in scientific investigation as a means of improving the health and quality of life of all people.

    How will AAHRPP be governed?

    A board of directors with total responsibility for overseeing the accreditation process will govern AAHRPP. The board will be composed of 21 individuals, including representatives from the member organizations and other associations concerned with human participants research. Five representatives to be drawn from the public will represent patients and other community stakeholders.

    AAHRPP’s founding members will serve in a trustee role with responsibilities limited exclusively to the organization’s corporate and fiscal health. Burroughs Wellcome Fund and PhARMA have committed financial assistance to help establish AAHRPP, but will have no role of any kind in the organization.

    How does the accreditation process work?

    Accreditation is a time-tested process used in the United States to ensure quality and stimulate continuing improvement. Accreditation is granted for a specific period of time, generally three or more years, following which the institution, hospital or program must repeat the process. It is accreditation’s recurrent self-examination followed by peer review that drives continuing quality improvement.

    AAHRPP’s accreditation process is a voluntary, peer-driven educational model that aims to foster "a culture conscience and responsibility"within institutions seeking its services. The accreditation process involves two steps: rigorous self-assessment, followed by a site visit from AAHRPP accreditors, who are experts in practicing, teaching and promoting human research protections.

    The accreditation program will focus not only on institutional review boards, but on institution-wide efforts, including the role of investigators, to promote and ensure the protection of human participants in biomedical, behavioral and social sciences research.

    The results of the process are intended to be two-fold 1) determining whether or not an institution meets accreditation standards, and 2) encouraging the institution to continuously improve the effectiveness of its human research protection programs.

    When will AAHRPP assume operations?

    AAHRPP expects to begin pilot-testing its standards by late summer and to be fully operational by January 2002.

    Where is AAHRPP located?

    The new organization will be located in Rockville, Md.