West Virginia University’s Office of Research Integrity and Compliance has been notified that the University has been reaccredited by a national authority that promotes ethically sound human research.

Daniel R. Vasgird, director of the WVU Office of Research Integrity and Compliance, said the University has received five-year reaccreditation from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs after having initially been fully accredited in 2008.

“AAHRPP promotes high quality research by accrediting organizations all over the world that have strengthened their human research protection programs as part of the research enterprise,” Vasgird said. “This is a very important designation for any research institution. It is the gold standard.”

He explained that AAHRPP is an independent, non-profit accrediting body that uses a voluntary, peer-driven, educational model to ensure that organizations like WVU meet rigorous standards for quality and safety as they relate to human research protections. To earn accreditation, organizations must provide tangible evidence— through policies, procedures, and practices—of their commitment to scientifically and ethically sound human research and to continuous improvement.
Vasgird said that the AAHRPP accreditation “gold seal” offers assurances—to research participants, researchers, sponsors, government regulators, and the general public—that WVU is focused first and foremost on excellence.

AAHRPP recognition ensures that all human research participants are respected and are protected from unnecessary harm.

Vasgird said the accreditation process required WVU to take a comprehensive look at its human research protection program, known as HRPP, to identify and address any weaknesses and to build upon strengths.

“The intended result is to constitute a more cohesive HRPP with systems in place to protect research participants and advance research more efficiently and effectively,” he said.

WVU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Curt M. Peterson said that the AAHRPP accreditation offers WVU several advantages that include:

• Certification that the University’s high standards and protections exceed federal requirements for safeguarding participants and extend to all research studies overseen by WVU’s HRPP.
• Evidence that WVU’s quality research programs not only safeguard research participants but also show that the University’s research data are reliable and credible because of a commitment to continuous quality improvement.
• Provision of a competitive edge with funding sources that recognize efficient operations, comprehensive protections, and high-quality data as a condition of research support.
• Federal agency recognition of WVU’s credibility: regulators are more likely to target non-accredited organizations for inspections.
• Public trust and confidence that research at WVU is conducted safely and ethically.

The reaccreditation was effective on Sept. 9.



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CONTACT: Daniel Vasgird (304) 293-7073