• Article
  • Jul 16 2020

UK Human Research Protection Program Receives Full AAHRPP Reaccreditation

Photo of doctor with patient.

The University of Kentucky’s Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) has once again been awarded full accreditation from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP), effective June 15. UK has been AAHRPP accredited continuously since 2007.

AAHRPP serves to protect the rights and welfare of research participants, and also to build public trust and confidence in research. As the "gold seal," AAHRPP accreditation offers assurances—to research participants, researchers, sponsors, government regulators, and the general public—that an HRPP is focused first and foremost on excellence. To earn accreditation, organizations must provide tangible evidence—through policies, procedures and practices—of their commitment to scientifically and ethically sound research and to continuous improvement.

“The University of Kentucky is committed to research that improves health in Kentucky and beyond, and clinical trials with human subjects are a critical way we fulfil that commitment. The dedication of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) staff and our researchers who participated in this re-accreditation process was a testament to the positive culture of collaboration and the care with which our investigators approach their human subjects research,” said Lisa Cassis, UK Vice President for Research. “We are invested in doing the right things in the right ways, and that was clear to the external reviewers who told me they rarely designate areas of distinction, and they designated not one, but two areas within our programs at UK.”

The five-year reaccreditation process involved an AAHRPP application consisting of some 1,700 pages, completed by ORI staff, describing the HRPP at UK and culminated with a two-day site visit. The final report called out the strengths of the program, including a culture of open communication, transparency and commitment to service. Areas of distinction included the ORI Education Program and the ORI Quality Assurance and Improvement Program.

“AAHRPP accreditation enables us to assess and improve our human research protection program. UK is fortunate to have researchers, Institutional Review Board (IRB) members, research coordinators, and administrators committed to an outstanding program,” said Helene Lake-Bullock, executive director of the Office of Research Integrity, who led the reaccreditation efforts. “AAHRPP selected, and site visitors interviewed, more than 50 people from these groups over the two days, and the outcome demonstrates the institution’s commitment to ethical research and participant wellbeing.”