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UCR Program Gains Accreditation

UC Riverside Program Protecting Human Participants in Research Experiments Gains Accreditation

Accreditation from Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs promotes highest quality research

(April 2, 2009)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside has received full accreditation for its Human Research Protection Program, a campus-wide program that promotes high quality, ethical research and assists researchers in complying with federal, state and university policies regarding experimentation involving human subjects.

UCR gained the accreditation from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP), a non-profit organization that advances accreditation as a means of ensuring excellent, ethically sound research.

Accreditation ensures that research participants will be protected from researchers who might harm them in the course of a study.

“That UCR is fully accredited by AAHRPP will indicate to all current and any future faculty who use human participants in their research that the campus is serious about its commitment to fostering the highest ethical standards for such research,” said Charles Louis, the vice chancellor for research.

Louis added that the accreditation would benefit UCR’s School of Medicine from having a fully accredited human subjects protection program already in place, rather than having to begin from scratch an application process for accreditation.

“The accreditation provides the most comprehensive protections for research participants at UCR and sends a clear message to the community and state that research conducted in the new medical school will maintain high ethical and professional standards,” he said.

AAHRPP’s standards exceed federal regulations by requiring organizations to address conflict of interest, provide community outreach and education, and apply the same stringent protections to all research involving human participants.

“Our efforts at securing accreditation indicate our seriousness on the issue of protecting human subjects as we recruit senior administrators and faculty for the new medical school,” Louis said.

In recent years, the University of California Office of the President has been committed to the AAHRPP accreditation process. UC Irvine and UC San Francisco were the first campuses within the UC system to achieve accreditation in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

UCR began the process for AAHRPP accreditation in December 2006 and submitted a preliminary application in December 2007. The university submitted the final application in April 2008. A site visit by AAHRPP officials followed in November 2008.

UCR’s Robert Hanneman, a professor of sociology, and Ruth Chao, an associate professor of psychology, served as chairs of the Human Research Protection Program during the application process. Assisting their efforts were the committee members of the Human Research Protection Program; Bill Schmechel, the director of research integrity; and staff members Joanne Chen and Monica Wicker in the Office of Research.

AAHRPP accreditation is valid for three years. Most of the policies, procedures and practices developed by UCR for the initial accreditation may be used for reaccreditation.

“Renewal will involve a site visit by AAHRPP for which a considerable amount of document preparation as well as meetings with our Human Research Protection Program members and researchers will be required,” Schmechel said.

So far this year, AAHRPP has accredited a total of 16 organizations.

Established in 2001, AAHRPP accredits organizations that can show that they provide participant safeguards that surpass the threshold of state and federal requirements. The accreditation process typically improves the quality of research as well as protections for research participants system-wide.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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