Current Projects and Developed Best Practices

The IACUC Administrators Association (IAA) and Best Practice (BP) Meetings are a tremendous asset to the IACUC Administrative community due to the strong partnership between OLAW, the USDA, AAALAC International, and the IACUC Administrative community. Because of this collaboration, many IACUC Administrators have used the opportunity to meet with and develop strong professional relationships with our federal regulators as well as colleagues from AAALAC International. In addition, the cooperative efforts have led to:

1. The IACUC Administrator’s Guide to Animal Program Management supports IACUC administrators who assist with developing, managing, and overseeing a program of animal care and animal use. It provides many options and possibilities for specific operational practices (e.g., how to build a well-functioning IACUC, what a functional protocol template looks like) to satisfy regulatory requirements.
The material provided is a compilation of several years of Best Practices (BP) meetings among IACUC administrators across the country. The BP meetings included representatives from the NIH/OLAW, AAALAC, and the USDA, whose presence and dialogue assured the BP discussion met or exceeded all regulatory or accreditation minimum standards. BP meeting attendees from private, public, governmental, and academic organizations have helped to shape and develop the information offered herein. It is through the insight of several hundred colleagues—their successes as well as their failures—that the authors have distilled suggestions and considerations for your local animal care and use program.

2. FAQs on VVC that were developed in collaboration with OLAW

3. Additional sample resources (outlines from The IACUC Administrator’s Guide to Animal Program Management) are provided below.

Current IAA projects aimed at minimizing regulatory burden and standardizing practices:

1. Standard Protocol Template: In collaboration with OLAW, the IAA is developing a standardized protocol template that will be available for use by members of the IACUC Administrative Community. To initiate the process, the IAA selected the protocol template available through OLAW’s website (OLAW Study Proposal) to serve as the standard. During Best Practice (BP) Meetings and at other venues, IACUC Administrators have been evaluating, updating and enhancing the template. The ultimate goal is to ensure the finished product is concise, and gathers the pertinent information needed by the IACUC to evaluate the proposed animal care and use activities. As an example, for each question on the template, Administrators asked, “Is the information being gathered required for the IACUC to conduct a thorough review”. The next step in the process is to provide the template to OLAW for evaluation and further enhancements before circulation.

2. Emergency Disaster Planning Resources: In collaboration with the USDA/APHIS-Animal Care and NIH Intramural Program, the IAA is working to establish best practices for emergency management and disaster planning for research facilities in the context of harmonization with the local, State, and Federal response to adverse events. We are working to harmonize elements of the Federal Emergency Response Plan with the model of best practices already established by US Zoos, and recommendations from IAA best practice meetings to establish an invaluable resources for the rsearch community.

In addition, a summary of the results and recommendations from a recently released report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “Strengthening the Disaster Resilience of the Academic Biomedical Research Community: Protecting the Nation’s Investment”will be presented ( Strengthening the Disaster Resilience ) is also being utilized in the process. This report identifies common problems that occurred at research institutions during past disasters, and proposes ideas that will increase resiliency to better protect institutions and research programs against future losses.

3. Wildlife and Field Studies Best Practices: The IAA is working in collaboration with wildlife researchers and federal agencies to establish a complete collection of best practices for evaluating and overseeing wildlife and field studies.