The Hutchinson Center has received reaccreditation by the Association for Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP), making it the only research institution in the state of Washington to lay claim to an industry gold standard for human research subject protection.
"The accreditation process involves the Center's entire Human Research Protection Program. It reflects the Center's commitment to human protections, and provides numerous advantages," said Karen Hansen, director of the Institutional Review Office (IRO).
Among the advantages, accreditation:
"Achieving and maintaining accreditation requires an institution to examine human research protection programs closely, to identify and address any weaknesses, and to build upon strengths," Hansen said. During more than 36 years at the Center, Hansen gained firsthand knowledge of the process by serving as a member of the AAHRPP's Council on Accreditation and conducting site visits at other institutions.
The Center first achieved AAHRPP accreditation in 2008. The reaccreditation process, conducted three years after initial accreditation and scheduled for every five years thereafter, involves:
The role of institutional review
The Institutional Review Office plays a critical role in Center science because it works to ensure that all research activities involving human and animal subjects comply with ethical standards, applicable regulations and established Center policies relating to the care and protection of such subjects.
The office coordinates the activities of three Institutional Review Boards. These committees are responsible for the human subject protocols research review. Approximately 50 individuals from across the Center and community volunteers serve on an IRB. Hansen’s team is responsible for making sure IRB committee members receive all the proper materials, conduct ethical review, and consider all regulations for the protection of human subjects.
"I am very proud of the ongoing commitment of the IRO staff, the IRB committee members and IRB chairs,” Hansen said. “Collectively they make an enormous contribution to the Center's human research protection program, which helps make continued accreditation possible."