In March of 2019, the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) visited UH’s Animal Care Operations for two days to inspect animal housing/surgical facilities and research labs.
AAALAC works with institutions and researchers to serve as a bridge between progress and animal well-being. This is done through AAALAC's voluntary accreditation process in which research programs demonstrate that they meet the minimum standards required by law, and are also going the extra step to achieve excellence in animal care and use.
The Division of Research is pleased to announce that the animal research program at the University of Houston has received continued full accreditation through AAALAC International!
“(Full accreditation) is an assurance to the granting agencies that UH not only complies with regulatory standards but also goes the extra steps to implement current practices that are required by law. This ensures that programs are continually improving in order to achieve excellence in animal care programs,” explained Dr. David Brammer, the executive director and chief veterinarian for Animal Care Operations.
This voluntary accreditation has been achieved by more than 1,000 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 47 countries. In 1986, the University of Houston was first accredited and has gone through a re-accreditation process every three years. Much of this process is not seen by the research community, but requires efforts from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Animal Care Operations, and to a lesser extent, other departments such as Environmental Health and Life Safety.
“The site visitors praised the UH program and had very few suggestions for improvement, which have since been addressed. There were no mandatory findings requiring correction,” said Kirstin Holzschuh, the executive director of the Research Integrity and Oversight Office.
There are four primary areas the AAALAC Council on Accreditation examines in making its decision: regulatory oversight, animal facilities, animal program, and occupational health and safety.
“Each area has a set of standards. A program description is required with the reaccreditation process. The 2019 program description included a 241 page document plus a 152 page appendix. Detailed answers are provided to the numerous application questions to provide a complete overview of the animal care program,” expounded Dr. Brammer.
“I am proud that UH has continued to achieve AAALAC accreditation, but more importantly, that the Animal Care Operations takes pride in ensuring an excellent standard of welfare for the research animals on campus.”