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Interim Staffing: Reinvigorating Your Human Research Protections Program

Evolving regulations, technological advancements, changing societal norms, and new research methodologies can cause an organization to pause and think, “Does our human research protection program (HRPP) have the proper expertise, policies, and procedures in place? Are we ready for increasing new single IRB (sIRB) mandates? Should we pursue accreditation?”

Maybe your organization has a vision for modernizing the HRPP. This may include implementing electronic management systems, creating new positions, or conducting intensive trainings to address identified gaps or new requirements. However, it’s hard to implement such changes or trainings without seriously impacting day-to-day operations. It’s difficult to know where to begin.

How Interim Staffing Can Help Evolve Your HRPP

External interim staff can help assess and revise an HRPP’s structure, policies, and procedures, ensuring they reflect the latest standards and best practices. Outside perspectives and experience are invaluable in identifying areas for improvement and ensuring policies and processes are both compliant and conducive to efficient operations. Benefits of external interim staff include:

When Accreditation is the Catalyst for Change

Of all the major changes an HRPP can make, the accreditation process is one of the more formidable and with high stakes consequences. It’s a lot to take on, especially for a team with little prior accreditation experience, and the process can place significant strain on current staff due to the time investment required. Interim staff can contribute to the accreditation process in several ways:

By bringing objective evaluation, specialized expertise, and effective change management skills, interim staff can significantly improve an institution’s ability to identify issues and implement necessary changes.

External support can propel the institution towards accreditation success, facilitate a large project without impacting basic operations, or simply help build a stronger, more compliant HRPP designed to adapt to future challenges and changes in the research landscape. Engaging professionals from outside the institution is an important strategy for ensuring the ethical and responsible conduct of research involving human subjects.

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