The Clinical Center adheres to the highest standards in the conduct of its clinical research, delivery of patient care services and clinical research education. This assures safe, quality patient care and the highest level of clinical research practices. Several organizations guide the overall Clinical Center operations through the evaluation and accreditation processes.
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
ACGME is responsible for the accreditation of graduate medical education (GME) training programs within the United States. Accreditation is accomplished through a peer-review process and is based upon established standards and requirements. Both individual training programs and the GME-sponsoring institution are reviewed on an annual maintenance-of-accreditation cycle by the ACGME, and then more comprehensively for the purpose of re-accreditation by the ACGME on a 10-year review cycle. The NIH and the Clinical Center are institutional sponsors of 17 ACGME-accredited programs. The most recent ACGME institutional re-accreditation site visit was conducted in May 2013 and resulted in a highly favorable outcome. The next ACGME institutional re-accreditation site visit is scheduled for October 2027.
At its most recent annual ACGME maintenance-of-accreditation review in April 2016, the NIH and the Clinical Center were awarded Continued Accreditation status, with a commendation for demonstrated substantial compliance with the ACGME's Institutional Requirements.
Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP)
AAHRPP works to protect the rights and welfare of research participants by fostering and advancing the ethical and professional conduct of persons and organizations that engage in research with human participants. As part of a pilot test to develop an accreditation process for human subjects research, an AHRPP team evaluated the clinical research programs at the Clinical Center. The evaluation team met with Clinical Center staff, NIH institute representatives and researchers and observed more than a dozen NIH Institutional Review Board sessions. The team was favorably impressed with how the Clinical Center conducts biomedical research. The pilot test served to enhance AAHRPP's efforts to establish a "gold seal," and the process necessary to reach that threshold signifying adherence to a rigorous set of human protection standards.
College of American Pathologists (CAP)
The Clinical Center's department of Laboratory Medicine was accredited "with distinction" in 2002 by the CAP. The peer-to-peer inspection is conducted every two years as part of the CAP's Commission on Laboratory Accreditation. In 2002, the commission added the terms "with distinction" to mark laboratories that passed the rigorous criteria with especially high marks. The Clinical Center's Department of Laboratory Medicine is one of more than 6,000 nationwide CAP-accredited laboratories. The accreditation program began in the early 1960s and is recognized by the federal government as being equal to, or more stringent than, its own inspection program. The CAP is a medical society serving 15,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world.
Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization's commitment to meeting certain performance standards. To maintain and earn accreditation, organizations must have an extensive onsite review by a team of Joint Commission healthcare professionals at least once every three years. The review's purpose is to evaluate the organization's performance in areas that affect patient care. The NIH Clinical Center received full accreditation status in 2021.