Emory Awarded Continued Full Accreditation for Excellence in Animal Care

September 29, 2023

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Lisa Newbern

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e: lisa.newbern@emory.edu

ATLANTA – AAALAC International has awarded Emory University continued full accreditation until 2026 for the university's excellent animal care programs. Such voluntary accreditation demonstrates a willingness to go above and beyond what laws require and assures the publican institution is committed to the responsible treatment of animals in science.

The AAALAC accreditation process occurs every three years and includes an evaluation of overall performance as well as individual aspects of the university's animal care program, including compliance with applicable animal legislation and institutional policies.

"Emory's animal care and use program is fortunate to have a well-balanced, faculty-led Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), a phenomenal team of veterinarians and animal care technicians at the School of Medicine Division of Animal Resources (DAR) and the Emory National Primate Research Center (EPC), and a collaborative infrastructure among many administrative and academic offices," says Robert Nobles, DrPH, MPH, CIP, vice president for Emory's Research Administration..

DAR and EPC worked across the university to document their extensive animal care programs in hundreds of pages that included information about animal housing and management, facilities, policies and veterinary care. After Emory submitted program descriptions for DAR and EPC, theuniversity hosted two teams of AAALAC site reviewers to comprehensively evaluate Emory's animal care programs.

Emory has maintained accreditation for more than 30 years

For more than 50 years, the scientific community has looked to AAALAC International, a private, nonprofit organization, to provide independent, unbiased, expert assessment of animal careprograms based on the standards set forth in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Both Emory units have maintained AAALAC full accreditation, the gold standard for animal care programs, for more than 30 years: EPC since 1984, and DAR since 1992. "This is aremarkable accomplishment by remarkable team members in many offices across the university who work collaboratively to deliver eminent animal welfare programs that enablefaculty and staff to pursue research and discovery," Nobles says.

Emory is one of the more than 1,100 organizations, including companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions, in 50 countries/regions that have earned AAALAC accreditation, which is helping raise the global benchmark for animal well-being inscience. These institutions volunteer to participate in AAALAC's accreditation program inaddition to complying with the local, state and federal laws that regulate animal research.

Emory recognized for excellent programs of laboratory animal care

The official notification letters AAALAC sent commend Emory for providing and maintaining excellent programs of laboratory animal care and use. "Especially noteworthy" examples included in the letters are: outstanding veterinary program with good attention to the clinical care of the animals with excellent written records; knowledgeable, friendly and helpful staff at all levels; emphasis on training; staff engagement and appreciation activities; outstanding behavior and environmental enrichment programs with an evident culture of care; active and engaged Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), including the nonaffiliated members who participate in IACUC functions and the equally engaged Institutional Official and administrative support; and well-maintained facilities and equipment.

The executive director of the Emory School of Medicine-based DAR, Michael J. Huerkamp, DVM,DACLAM, observed, "AAALAC‘s characterization of the DAR team excelling puts us at the pinnacle of outcomes and achievement as compared to accredited peers, and is extraordinary for a research enterprise of Emory's size and complexity. As Dr. Nobles noted, this was a team accomplishment – the product of a long history of engaged and supportive senior leadership; considerable investment in state-of-the-art facilities and technology promoting consistency and efficiency in care; the IACUC; talented and committed teams of animal care specialists and veterinarians; committed and collaborative scientists; and productive relationships with Facilities Management, Emory Health and Safety Office, Employee Health and all others who have a stake in our success."

Joyce Cohen, VMD, DACLAM, associate director of Animal Resources at EPC, states, "The accreditation letter from AAALAC highlighted many strengths of the EPC program and serves as an outstanding testament to the dedication of our employees. This recognition is extra special given how well our employees overcame challenges the pandemic presented the last three years. The EPC community's commitment is to maintain the highest standards of animal care and welfare while supporting scientific advancements no matter what obstacles come our way!"

Emory is committed to providing outstanding animal care

"The rigorous AAALAC accreditation process strongly endorses Emory's unwavering commitment to provide outstanding care for the animals involved in our research programs," R.Paul Johnson, MD, EPC director, adds. "Our continued full accreditation is not only notable for Emory, but also for animals involved in research worldwide because the AAALAC accreditation process maintains and advances the global standards for animal well-being in science."

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. It is composed of the Emory University School of Medicine, Rollins School of Public Health, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory National Primate Research Center, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Emory Healthcare, the most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Major teaching affiliates of the Emory University School of Medicine include Grady Memorial Hospital and its community clinics, the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

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