Horizon accredited for its Human Research Protection Program

Barry Strack, Regional Director of Research Services for Horizon Health Network

Today, I wanted to share some exciting news: Horizon was recently accredited for its Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) through Human Research Accreditation Canada (HRA Canada). The HRPP is the system through which all research studies in Horizon are reviewed for methodology, regulatory compliance and approved for ethical conduct by our Research Ethics Board (which was recognized as a leading practice in 2010).

It’s worth noting: Horizon is the first Canadian health authority to receive this recognition!

Accreditation is a form of external review which demonstrates our processes for research administration and oversight meet all the regulatory requirements, industry standards, and best practices for health research involving human participants.

It’s a long, challenging process that requires developing many new policies and operational procedures, but ultimately it improves the quality of the support our office provides.

It also enhances the confidence our patients and research partners have in Horizon because it shows we’ve voluntarily undergone a process of meeting rigorous standards to provide the highest level of scientifically and ethically sound human participant research.

Accreditation raises the bar on the research being done at Horizon. Throughout Canada and the rest of the world, health research involving humans is subject to a complex array of guidelines, regulations, and practices, and it can be very difficult for organizations to ensure that every research project underway complies with the relevant standards.

Through the HRPP, we established an integrated, systematic approach that allows each research project to be evaluated against the relevant regulations or practices that apply to the study.

Achieving accreditation means that we can ensure our HRPP processes conform to the normative documents governing the conduct of human participants research. What this means, from a practical and operational perspective, is that we have confidence that the research being conducted in Horizon adheres to the guidelines, laws, and regulations governing research involving humans. That makes for better research and, potentially, better health outcomes for New Brunswickers.

Upcoming national webinar

Jacquelyn Legere, our HRPP Director will co-present on Horizon’s HRPP and accreditation process in an upcoming webinar on May 28 to the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA), the national organization for research administrators in Canada.

Understandably, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has dominated the headlines around the province, and a lot of our day-to-day work has shifted in response to the outbreak.

Because of our HRPP processes, we can ensure that any COVID-19 related research adheres to highest scientific and ethical standards. Here are a few COVID-19-related research projects involving or led by Horizon:

COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Protocol

This international observational study aims to better understand how people who take immunosuppressive medications for an autoimmune or rheumatic disease, and have been infected by COVID-19, are impacted by the pandemic. (https://rheum-covid.org/)

Understanding the Psychosocial Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on New Brunswickers

This Horizon-led research study will examine the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the wellbeing of New Brunswickers. People can complete this survey regardless if they have contracted COVID-19. (https://www.nbsocialpediatrics.com/)

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Heart Outcomes Registry

This observational study will collect lab and other test data from patients in-hospital who test positive for COVID-19 so that we can better understand how people with current or past heart disease are impacted differently by the virus than those with no history of heart disease.

Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a New Brunswick, Canada Cohort of Patient (TripleC-NB)

A Horizon-led research observational study where the purpose is to gather information about how the coronavirus is impacting patients including the effects of various treatments on patient outcomes.

Horizon represented at national association

Also worth mentioning, Jacquelyn and Dr. Bryn Robinson, Manager of Research Engagement, from Horizon Research Services have been asked to join Human Research Standards Organization’s Quality Systems and Research Integrity Management (QSRIM) Technical Committee as experts in the field.

This is quite an accomplishment and we’re very proud to have Horizon represented at this national association!

HRA Canada is an independent, not-for-profit accrediting body for human research in Canada. It accredits Human Research Protection Programs (HRPPs) of Canadian public and private organizations through a bilingual, voluntary, peer-driven program based on education and excellence.

Barry Strack is the Regional Director of Research Services and leads a talented team of research and administrative professionals dedicated to supporting the research community within Horizon Health Network.

Barry’s mandate is to facilitate and promote research opportunities throughout the region by encouraging new research initiatives, supporting ongoing research, developing research partnerships, and establishing a sound organizational infrastructure for health research.

Before joining Horizon Health Network in 2009, Barry lived in Toronto, Ont., where he held several management positions in the pharmaceutical industry with companies running clinical trials throughout North America, Europe and China. In addition, he held the position of Deputy Editor-in-Chief of theQuality Assurance Journal, a John Wiley publication dedicated to continuous quality improvement in the pharmaceutical and biosciences industries.