FEB 05, 2014 11:00 AM PST

Ensuring and Assessing Training and/or Qualifications of Personnel in Animal Care and Use Programs: The AAALAC Perspective

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  • Professor of Pathology University Veterinarian Director, Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, Duke University, USA
      Dr. Norton is Professor of Pathology and Director, Division of Laboratory Animal Resources at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. He earned his veterinary degree at North Carolina State University and his doctorate degree in pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and the American Board of Toxicology. Dr. Norton has over 25 years of experience in toxicology and laboratory animal medicine, including management of preclinical discovery and development projects as well as preparation of regulatory dossiers, design and management of complex animal facilities, and ensuring regulatory compliance of animal programs. Dr. Norton is a member and currently serves as President of the Council of Accreditation for the Laboratory Animal Care International. His collaborative research focuses on extrinsic factors which may influence the animal research model, specifically in the area of noise and vibration.


    All personnel involved in an animal care and use program are expected to have an appropriate level of education, training and/or qualifications to perform their duties as defined through laws, regulations, and guidelines in the laboratory animal field.  Although methods used to evaluate personnel qualifications vary throughout the world, the realistic and practical approach to assessing proven competency of individuals resides with the demonstration of tasks and/or analysis of the end product. Fortunately in the field of laboratory animal science and medicine, numerous metrics are available for review, including documentation of activities (e.g., daily husbandry log sheets, medical records, etc.) and most importantly, the health and appearance of the animals in the institution.  Thus, assessing the competency of individuals, whether through demonstration of tasks or examination of the end product, is a basic tenet of education and training and is critical in ensuring animal welfare as well as preventing potential occupational injuries to personnel.  The 8th edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide) provides enhanced guidance relative to training and education and the Program Description template of AAALAC International requires institutions to provide information describing the training programs and qualifications of animal program personnel.  During the on-site assessment of an institution, the AAALAC representatives will evaluate the program and facilities for conformance with AAALAC International's Primary Standards, as appropriate to the institution, including the training program and qualifications of personnel.  This presentation will highlight key groups of the animal care and use program where training and education are essential, and discuss methods of assessing the quality of the training program for those groups.  In addition, the expectations of the Council on Accreditation in assessing training and qualifications of personnel in the animal care and use program will be discussed.

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