Accreditation Principles

Tip Sheets

AAHRPP has adopted nine principles for accreditation. These nine principles serve as the foundation for the structure and content of the AAHRPP Accreditation Standards.

Principles for Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs


What AAHRPP expects from Organizations

  1. Protecting the rights and welfare of research participants must be an Organization's first priority. An Organization should promote a research environment where ethical, productive investigation is valued.
  2. Protecting research participants is the responsibility of everyone within an Organization and is not limited to the Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Accreditation examines whether the policies and procedures of the Organization as a whole result in a coherent, effective system to protect research participants and that all individuals know their roles and responsibilities.
  3. Striving to exceed the federal requirements and continually seeking new safeguards for protecting research participants while advancing scientific progress must be integrated into an Organization’s mission. 

What Organizations can expect from AAHRPP

  1. The standards for protecting participants in human research will be clear, specific, and applicable to research across the full range of settings (e.g., university-based biomedical, behavioral and social science research, independent review boards, hospitals, government agencies, and others). Standards will address any special concerns (e.g., the use of vulnerable populations or heightened risk to privacy and confidentiality) that may arise in each setting. 
  2. The standards will identify outcome measures that Organizations can use to assess and demonstrate quality improvement over time.
  3. The standards will be performance-based using objective criteria and measurable outcomes to evaluate whether a Human Research Protection Program effectively implements the standards. The evaluation will result in a grade of pass or fail for each standard and, where appropriate, will also include commendations or recommendations for meeting the standards.
  4. The accreditation process will provide a clear, understandable pathway to accreditation, along with equally clear pathways for appeal and the remediation of identified shortcomings.
  5. The accreditation process will be educational involving collegial discussion and constructive feedback. The accreditation process will identify areas in which the Human Research Protection Program does not yet meet the standards and give organizations the opportunity to discuss potential program improvements.
  6. The accreditation process will be responsive to changes in federal regulations and to standards that will evolve based on what AAHRPP learns from accrediting Organizations from research settings.