Spectrum Health Earns Full Accreditation for Research Program

Recognized By Peer Organizations for Quality and Safety in Clinical Research

West Michigan patients and Medical Mile investigators participating in research at Spectrum Health now have an additional way of validating the hospital’s commitment to excellence. Spectrum Health is now the only private not-for-profit hospital in Michigan to earn full accreditation from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP).

AAHRPP is a nonprofit organization that works with entities involved with human subject research to raise the level of protection for research participants. They use a voluntary, peer-driven, educational model to ensure that organizations meet rigorous standards for quality and protection. To earn accreditation, organizations must provide tangible evidence-through policies, procedures, and practices-of their commitment to scientifically and ethically sound research and dedication to continuous improvement.

AAHRPP standards require organizations to surpass federal research regulations in terms of safety monitoring of human research. The rigorous accreditation process often results in systemwide improvements that provide greater protection for research participants and ensures the integrity of the institution’s research. Spectrum Health received full accreditation after an initial review by AAHRPP in December, avoiding qualified or pending status which identifies the need for additional improvements.

“Spectrum Health is committed to the most comprehensive protections for research participants and the highest quality research,” said Anthony Senagore, MD, vice president, chief academic officer, Spectrum Health. “This helps assure everyone involved with Spectrum Health research that our patients and volunteers are treated with the highest standards for safety, health and welfare.”

Senagore, who is responsible for the system’s research efforts, also said this accreditation is important because lab research conducted in West Michigan and elsewhere can only go so far without organizations like Spectrum Health that are approved for human clinical testing. “In translational medicine, we talk about discoveries moving from the lab bench to the clinical level or the bedside. Those final steps can’t be completed without organizations like Spectrum Health conducting human research. This accreditation is good news for the West Michigan life sciences community.”

Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest health system based research program.  More than 90 percent of Grand Rapids area clinical studies are affiliated with Spectrum Health. Research at Spectrum Health encompasses over 875 open research studies, involves more than 300 physician investigators who are supported by more than 80 clinical and regulatory staff.

The other AAHRPP accredited organizations in Michigan are Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, John Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan that offers a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, a collection of seven hospitals and more than 140 service sites; the Spectrum Health Medical Group and  mmpc, multispecialty physician groups with more than 400 providers; and Priority Health, a health plan with nearly 500,000 members. Spectrum Health’s 16,000 employees, 1,500 medical staff members and 2,000 volunteers are committed to delivering the highest quality care. The organization provided $111.1 million in community benefit during its 2008 fiscal year. As a system, Spectrum Health has earned more than 100 awards during the past 10 years.