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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Earns Full Accreditation from AAHRPP

December 29, 2008

HOUSTON – The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP) announced on December 17 that it had awarded full accreditation to the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. 

Established in April 2001, AAHRPP is a non-profit organization that works with organizations that conduct human research to raise the level of protection for research participants. AAHRPP accredits organizations that can demonstrate they provide participant safeguards that surpass the threshold of state and federal requirements. The accreditation program utilizes a voluntary, peer-driven educational model. To date, 159 organizations representing more than 750 entities have earned accreditation.

“The bottom line is that accreditation is both the right and smart thing to do. It can strengthen and streamline research protection programs, and help safeguard research participants,” said AAHRPP President and CEO Marjorie A. Speers, Ph.D. “The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center has achieved AAHRPP’s high standards and distinguished itself from its non-accredited peers.”

Through the rigorous accreditation process, organizations must demonstrate they have built extensive safeguards into every level of their research operation and they adhere to the highest standards for research. AAHRPP’s standards exceed federal regulations by requiring organizations to address conflict of interest, to provide community outreach and education, and to apply the same stringent protections to all research involving human participants. Under federal regulations, such protections are mandated only for federally sponsored or regulated research. The accreditation process typically results in system-wide improvements that enhance protections for research participants and promote high-quality research.

“It is important for the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding the interests of human research participants through engagement in this accreditation program,” said Edgar L. Tucker, MEDVAMC director.

Accreditation is available to U.S. and international organizations that conduct biomedical, behavioral, or social sciences research involving human participants. Decisions on accreditation are announced quarterly, and accreditation is valid for three years.

“This accreditation reflects the efforts of a great many employees at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center including researchers, research administrative staff, and pharmacy staff,” said Holly H. Birdsall, M.D., MEDVAMC Research Care Line executive. “We are delighted and extremely pleased that our human research protection program earned this recognition.”

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