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The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs: 15 years of emphasizing research safety, ethics, and quality

Elyse I. Summers

Article ID: 141
Vol 3, Issue 1, 2018, Article identifier:38-42

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This year marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP), an organization that has been instrumental in strengthening protections for research participants. AAHRPP was established by seven Founding Members in response to a series of high-profile incidents that shook the foundation of the U.S. research enterprise. The Founding Members viewed voluntary accreditation as one way to strengthen research protections and restore and preserve public trust. Today, AAHRPP accreditation is widely regarded as the gold standard for research protections. To attain accreditation, organizations must demonstrate that they adhere to rigorous standards covering three domains: The Organization, The Institutional Review Board or Ethics Committee, and Researcher and Research Staff. The emphasis is on system-wide policies and procedures that strengthen an organization’s commitment to participants and help ensure a more consistent, more effective approach to protecting them. Because AARHPP accreditation is considered an objective indicator of quality, the benefits to accredited organizations can be considerable. Their accreditation status sends a signal — to potential research partners, to sponsors and other funders, and to research participants — that the organization has the systems in place to conduct research in a scientifically and ethically sound manner.


HRPP; research participants; research subjects; IRB; ethics committee; clinical research; accredited organization

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Included Database


Institute of Medicine, 2001, Preserving Public Trust: Accreditation and Human Research Participant Protection Programs. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

National Bioethics Advisory Commission, 2001, Ethical and policy issues in research involving human participants. Volume I: report and recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, viewed May 15, 2016,

Association of American Universities Task Force on Research Accountability, 2000, Report on university protections of human beings who are the subjects of research: report and recommendations, viewed May 16, 2016,

AAHRPP Accreditation Standards, October 1, 2009, viewed May 16, 2016,

AAHRPP 2015 metrics on human research protection program performance, updated March 30, 2016, viewed May 17, 2016,

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