NIEHS Recognized for Excellence in Animal Care
Dr. Diane Forsythe
Reviewers described the NIEHS animal care program as “exemplary”
during a recent site visit by the council on accreditation of the Association for Assessment
and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International.
Following the visit, the group officially
notified NIEHS Comparative Medicine Branch chief Dr. Diane Forsythe of the NIEHS program’s full accreditation.
The decision was based on the institute’s compliance
with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory
Animals, which covers every aspect of animal care. Prepared by the National Research Council in 1996, the guide represents the gold standard of best practices for more than 750 AAALAC-affiliated
government, university, hospital and private laboratories engaged in research using animals.
“This is what’s called a ‘clean’ letter,” Forsythe said of the notification, “because there are no suggestions
for improvement, [which is] very unusual” in this rigorous review process. “The use of the word ‘exemplary’ is also very rare,” she added, “and we’re very happy about that.”
In his letter to Forsythe, council on accreditation
president Dr. John Bradfield wrote that reviewers were especially impressed by the institute’s
knowledgeable and committed staff, well- equipped and maintained facilities, inclusive occupational health and safety program and comprehensive
“AAALAC accreditation is voluntary and is a symbol of quality,” Forsythe said. “It shows that we’re willing to go above and beyond what the regulations and requirements are, that we’re very committed to having an outstanding animal
Forsythe shares praise with her 22-member staff and 60 contractors who support the animal care and use program. She also acknowledges the contributions
of many others in the institute for their “tremendous support of the program.”
According to Forsythe, in 1972 NIEHS became the first NIH institute to be accredited by AAALAC, which was formed in 1965. The main NIH campus received full accreditation in 1993.—