Emory Again Awarded Full Accreditation for Animal Care Programs

September 25, 2020

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Lisa Newbern
p: 404-727-7709
e: lisa.newbern@emory.edu

AAALAC International has conferred continued full accreditation to Emory University's Division of Animal Resources (DAR) and Emory National Primate Research Center until 2023. Both units have maintained AAALAC Int. full accreditation, the gold standard for animal care programs, for more than 25 years: Yerkes since 1984, and DAR since 1992.

Such accreditation represents an institution's commitment to maintaining high standards for animal care and use, as well as commitment to animal well-being in science. DAR and Yerkes documented their extensive programs in hundreds of pages that covered policies, animal housing and management, veterinary care, and facilities. Each "Program Description" was a precursor to two teams of reviewers making site visits in early 2020 to comprehensively evaluate Emory's two animal care programs.

AAALAC, once known as the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs. Emory is one of the more than 1,000 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 49 countries that have earned AAALAC accreditation, demonstrating commitment to responsible animal care and use. These institutions volunteer to participate in AAALAC's program in addition to complying with the local, state and federal laws that regulate animal research.

The official notification letters AAALAC sent commend Emory for its two strong programs, including institutional support evidenced by the investment in personnel, facilities and equipment; dedicated employees and collegial relationships; engaged Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC); thorough medical records; and comprehensive environmental enrichment program.

Michael Huerkamp, DVM, DACLAM, director of Emory's DAR, says, "For a program of our size to have maintained AAALAC Int. accreditation for multiple decades with few findings and many commendations is an exceptional achievement. This speaks to a long history of engaged and supportive senior leadership; the considerable investment in state-of-the-art facilities and technology promoting consistency and efficiency in care; the IACUC; a talented and committed DAR team; and productive relationships with Facilities Management, EHSO, Employee Health, and the research community we serve."

Joyce Cohen, VMD, DACLAM, associate director of Animal Resources at Yerkes, adds, "The accreditation process helps us highlight the quality of care our dedicated employees provide the animals, the training and development we provide our employees, and the facility and equipment improvements we make. All of these support greater animal welfare and facilitate scientific advancements to improve human and animal health."

Paul Johnson, MD, Yerkes director, provides this perspective, "The thorough AAALAC accreditation process, which is comparable to the Joint Commission accreditation program for health care organizations, validates Emory's commitment to excellence and respect for the animals involved in our research programs. Our continued full accreditation is not only excellent news for Emory, but also for animals involved in research worldwide because each accreditation helps raise the global standards for animal well-being in science."

Michael E. Zwick, PhD, associate vice president for research, Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and associate dean of research, Emory University School of Medicine, adds, "We are fortunate to have such dedicated employees caring for our animals and partnering with our researchers to help enable their science. Even in times like these, care of our research animals remains a priority, and such a continued focus on animal welfare underscores the quality of our research and provides a foundation for our scientific advancements."

Robert Nobles, DrPH, MPH, CIP, vice president for research administration, says, "Emory's continued full accreditation is indicative of the expert, compassionate care the DAR and Yerkes employees provide, and the expert review and oversight activities of our staff and faculty who serve on the IACUC. This combination of care and oversight is critical to our infrastructure that supports Emory's discoveries. I am impressed by the respect our animal resources employees show our research animals and our science, and know such respect is why we maintain our AAALAC accreditation, which directly and indirectly improves lives."

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University was founded in 1966. Its mission is to improve the health of individuals and communities at home and throughout the world.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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