For the third consecutive time, the University of Minnesota Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) has been awarded full accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP), an independent, nonprofit accrediting body which ensures that programs meet rigorous standards for quality and protection.
In order to be accredited, organizations must provide tangible evidence — through policies, procedures, and practices — of their commitment to scientifically and ethically sound research, and to continuous improvement. AAHRPP accreditation serves as a “gold seal” that assures research participants, researchers, sponsors, government regulators, and the general public that an organization’s human research program is focused first and foremost on excellence.
“AAHRPP reaccreditation is a testament to the commitment of our researchers and governance to ensuring comprehensive protections for research participants,” said R. Timothy Mulcahy, vice president for research. “I applaud our researchers, members of the Institutional Review Board and HRPP staff for the hard work and dedication that made this achievement possible.”
The AAHRPP accreditation process involves several steps, including: a rigorous self-assessment where an institution evaluates its human research protection program and makes improvements; an on-site evaluation conducted by a team of experts who review materials and conduct interviews to evaluate the program’s performance with respect to AAHRPP accreditation standards; a review by AAHRPP’s Council on Accreditation of the application, draft site visit report and the institution’s response. The Council then determines the institution’s accreditation status.
In certifying the university’s reaccreditation, which lasts for five years, AAHRPP noted some of the human research program’s strengths, including: a commitment to community engagement and outreach; an extensive and formally defined network of relationships among the various components of HRPP leadership with interactions described as supportive, consultative and informed; optimization of available resources and a commitment to streamlining the review process through continuous quality improvement principles and practices; ensuring ethical conduct of student-initiated research and providing effective teaching for new researchers.