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Washington Highlights

VA Recognizes Alternative Accreditation of Academic Affiliates

May 11, 2012—The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) May 7 announced that it will allow human research protection programs at VA facilities to be reviewed by the institutional review board (IRB) of an academic affiliate accredited by an organization that is not under contract with the VA.  The change in policy follows VA’s selection of a new organization to accredit its own human research protection programs. 

Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Handbook 1200.05, Requirements for Protection of Human Subjects in Research, now states that “academic affiliates may be required to cooperate with the Accrediting Organization under contract with VA or to maintain their own accreditation with another accrediting organization recognized by VA” (emphasis added).  The new policy specifically recognizes the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP), and allows academic institutions that are currently accredited by AAHRPP to continue to provide IRB services to VA facilities.

Previously, the VA had contracted with AAHRPP for accreditation of the human research protection programs at its facilities, but recently awarded the contract to Alion Science and Technology Corporation.  The programs of over 25 affiliate institutions that provide IRB services to VA facilities have been accredited by AAHRPP.  Under the previous policy, those institutions would need to be accredited by Alion to continue to provide IRB services to VA facilities.


Heather Pierce, JD, MPH
Sr. Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel
Telephone: 202-478-9926


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806