Integrity is a core value relevant to all of CDC/ATSDR activities. The integrity concept involves consistency of actions, values, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. Integrity can also involve responsibility, trustworthiness, respect, caring, overall fairness and doing the right thing because it is the right thing. The mission of CDC mandates that its activities have the highest level of integrity to promote top quality public health. The Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) was established within OADS to ensure that CDC science and research activities comply with various federal laws, regulations, and policies. OSI also combines similar scientific functional areas to facilitate the streamlining and effectiveness of critical scientific support functions often processed in sequential order.
There are several functional areas of OSI:
- The Animal Care and Use Program Office (ACUPO) is responsible for ensuring compliance with federal laws and principles in the care and use of laboratory animals at CDC. ACUPO works closely with the CDC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the CDC Animal Resources Branch, and with individual investigators.
- The Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) leads the agency in protecting the rights and welfare of human beings who participate in research. HRPO coordinates CDC's Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), exemptions from research on human subjects, and joint review arrangements with research partners.
- The Information Collection Review Office (ICRO) is responsible for implementing agency requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) for CDC. ICRO coordinates the PRA clearance process for CDC-sponsored data collections which are regulated by the Office of Management and Budget.
- The Privacy and Confidentiality Unit provides technical assistance on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule which regulates the use and disclosure of protected health information by covered entities and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which regulates the disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in an education (school) record. In addition, the Privacy and Confidentiality Unit issues Certificates of Confidentiality and Assurances of Confidentiality which protect an individual's personal information and protect against compulsory legal disclosure of sensitive data.
- The Public Health Ethics Unit brings considerations, such as ethical principles and values, to discussions of public health policies and actions. Public health ethics 1) helps to build and maintain credibility and public trust in public health recommendations; 2) fosters consensus and resolves values conflicts in an atmosphere of respect; 3) guides decision making when there is scientific uncertainty and many opinions about how to proceed; and 4) increases awareness of the moral claims and values of community stakeholders, particularly of those most impacted by the public health recommendations. The Public Health Ethics Unit works with programs to identify, analyze, and resolve ethical issues that arise in public health practice.
- The Training Unit collaborates with subject matter experts and other key stakeholders within and outside the Agency to provide ongoing trainings and other educational resources to CDC employees on research on human subjects, federal data collection requests, animal research, privacy and confidentiality, public health ethics, responsible conduct of scientific activities, and science quality concepts. Most training courses are optional and can be tailored for specific audiences. There are also mandatory training requirements on research on human subjects and on laboratory animals; such training must be completed before CDC investigators may conduct research studies.
- The Science Services Support Project (Office) S3P is an agency-wide project, led by the Office of the Associate Director for Science (OADS), for supporting CDC science. The overarching S3P goal is to streamline the processes for compliance with Federal regulations that are required for the conduct of Federally sponsored scientific and programmatic work via process improvement and information technology. S3P will deliver an IT system specifically designed for all CDC staff to submit, track, review, approve, and update the status of any project activities associated with human subject’s protection, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and/or confidentiality protections. S3P represents the efforts of CDC staff conducting research and public health throughout the world to improve the efficiency and user-friendliness of research and public health science processes, forms, and services and to enhance the ability to process the protocols/requests in a consistent, logical manner using information technology.
To contact the Office of Scientific Integrity, call (404) 639-7570 or send an email to OADS@cdc.gov.