Published: February 22, 2007
On February 21, CDC was notified by the Council on Accreditation of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory and Animal Care (AAALAC-International) that its full accreditation of its animal care and use program will continue. During 2006, CDC successfully restructured its animal care and use program after it was put on notice that it risked losing its accreditation with the Association because of serious program oversight and animal care problems.
In its letter to CDC , the Council commended CDC for "providing and maintaining an exemplary program of laboratory animal care and use." The Association also found especially noteworthy CDC's strong institutional support, "as evidenced by the senior leadership of CDC communicating to the entire staff that improvement of the animal care and use program was the highest priority for CDC; committing over three million dollars in improvements to the animal care and use program since the 2005 site visit; approving 18 FTE (full-time employees) for the animal care and use program, …and conveying an emphasis from the highest level of the organization that the CDC is committed to a culture of compliance for the animal care and use program." In addition, the Council had no further recommendations for improvement of CDC's animal care and use program at this time and wished the program continued success.
"We could not be more pleased by this news and are deeply grateful for the support that AAALAC has given us as we examined every aspect of our animal care and use program during 2006. CDC is fully committed to being an exemplar of excellence in animal care and use. We did not minimize our need to improve, and with the hard work of dedicated staff and AAALAC's help we've set things straight. We are deeply committed to maintaining the world class animal care and use program that we have now established," said Julie L. Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., Director, CDC.
AAALAC-International's voluntary accreditation program evaluates organizations that use animals in research. Those that meet or exceed AAALAC standards are awarded accreditation. CDC has had AAALAC accreditation since 1967. Accreditation, while voluntary, is important in attracting world-class scientists to CDC and ensuring the public's confidence in the agency's public health research that involves animals.
"In the last year, CDC has made tremendous strides in re-energizing and building a world-class animal care and use program and it's very important to CDC to have AAALAC recognize that effort. I want to thank the dedicated staff at CDC who made this possible," noted Tanja Popovic, M.D., acting Chief Science Officer, CDC, and the new Institutional Official for Animal Research. "Before this year we had a fractured system with too many elements reporting through too many channels. Now, we've raised the oversight for animal care and use to the level of the office of the CDC director. This now has equal standing with our scrutiny of human-subject research. This is about accountability. CDC has the moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to humanely care for the animals who contribute to the science and research that benefit all humans and we are committed to do so."
For more about this issue, visit http://www.cdc.gov/about/news/2006_11/animal_care/