Association for the Accreditation
of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. ®

Accreditation: Get Accredited - Part 4: Evaluation of Practice

After the Review of Written Materials step is complete, AAHRPP will request a final set of written materials in the form of a Step 2 Application. AAHRPP staff will schedule your site visit, usually within three months of when the Step 2 application for accreditation or reaccreditation is submitted. The size and scope of your organization affects how long the site visit will last and the size of the site visit team.

Before the Site Visit

Six weeks before the site visit

AAHRPP will send an initial email with a draft agenda for the site visit and other information to help you get ready. This initial email helps establish contact between the Organization and AAHRPP staff who will work together to answer your questions relating to accreditation and the site visit. This email includes:

  • A list of members of your Organization who will be interviewed, along with a proposed schedule of interview times.
  • An explanation of the types of meetings that will occur during the site review: the introduction, program overview, interviews, record review and executive session, daily closeout, lead contact review, and final closeout.
  • A list of the individuals who will be members of your site visit team.
  • If the evaluation will be on-site, a request for logistical and travel information, such as the location of the nearest airport and recommendations for lodging and meals.
  • If the evaluation will be virtual, a request for a meeting to identify and test the technology that will be used for interviews and document sharing.

Approximately six weeks before the site visit, AAHRPP will provide a list of the records and documents you must have ready for the site visitors on the first day of the site visit. The list includes documentation, such as

  • Your Organization’s most recent periodic evaluation of resources allocated to the HRPP, key functions of the HRPP, and participant outreach plan;
  • Plan to assess HRPP compliance and quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the HRPP; 
  • Organizational conflict of interest management plans;  
  • Copies of the last notification letters sent to a US federal agency (e.g., OHRP, FDA, or other agency) or other governmental agency reporting serious or continuing noncompliance, suspension and termination of IRB or ethics committee approval, and unanticipated problems involving risks to participants or others;
  • IRB or ethics committee meeting minutes;
  • IRB or ethics committee roster(s);
  • Curriculum vitae or resume for IRB or ethics committee members;
  • Performance evaluation of IRB or ethics committee members and chairs; and
  • Study files. 

The number of requested documents varies depending on the size of your organization and whether you have an internal IRB or ethics committee.

Two weeks before the site visit
AAHRPP will send a final agenda and other logistical details.

During the Visit

Some of the key meetings that will occur during the site visit are:

After the Site Visit

AAHRPP will provide a Draft Site Visit Report to you within 45 calendar days of the last day of the site visit. While waiting for the report, debrief everyone who was interviewed during the site visit. This can help you anticipate some of the comments you might see in the Draft Site Visit Report. Take a breather but remain focused on accreditation. Review the notes you took during the site visit and begin working on improvements that will address the observations that the site visitors reported.     

Once you receive the report, study the observations and ask AAHRPP for clarifications. Your response is due to AAHRPP within 45 calendar days. Pay attention to the due date in the letter you receive along with the Draft Site Visit Report. This deadline is strictly observed. See Instructions to Prepare a Response to a Draft Site Visit Report.

Respond to any errors of fact. If you have made any changes to your HRPP since the site visit, make sure to note those changes in your response.

For some Organizations, the response and resulting corrections involve more work than expected. If the report includes a lot of observations, pick a few and respond well.

If you plan to send a response to AAHRPP, have staff available to assist you. Although a significant amount of the work in achieving accreditation is finished by the end of the site visit, your response to the Draft Site Visit Report is an integral part of your application. The application process does not end until you have submitted your response.

Resources You May Need

Submission Form for Responses to AAHRPP Requests

Instructions to Prepare a Response to the Draft Site Visit Report

Steps to Get Accredited

Step 1 - Self Assessment

Part 1 Self-Assessment

Step 3 - Evaluation

Part 2 Build Application

Step 4 - Notification of Accreditation

Part 3 Evaluation of
Written Materials

Step 2 - Build Application

Part 4Evaluation of

Step 5 - Post Council Review

Part 5 Council Review

Step 6 - Maintain Accreditation

Part 6 Response to
Council Review