Animals that are used in research and teaching at the Johns Hopkins University are covered by our Animal Care and Use Program. The Johns Hopkins program is designed to assure that it is in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act regulations and Public Health Service (PHS) Policy. Johns Hopkins University has an approved PHS Assurance that describes the conduct of our animal care and use program. Johns Hopkins also maintains accreditation of our program by the private Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International. Our overarching goals are to assure that laboratory animals at Johns Hopkins University receive the highest quality care and to protect the health of people who work with and around animals at Johns Hopkins. We believe that excellence in research and teaching requires excellence in our animal care and use program.
This document provides an overview of the structure and responsibilities of those who support the animals care and use program at Johns Hopkins.
The Animal Care and Use Program at Johns Hopkins in University-wide program. It is comprised of multiple components, which cover animal housing and care, veterinary medical care, facilities management, training, occupational health, and assurance of compliance with federal and state laws and policies that govern use of animals in research and teaching. In general, the National Research Council's Guide to the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals serves as the primary source for standards for the Johns Hopkins Animal Care and Use Program. Additional detailed information regarding policies and guidance may be found on or through links from the Animal Care and Use Committee website (www.jhu.edu/animalcare).
Institutional Official (IO)
The animal care and use program is the ultimate responsibility of the President of Johns Hopkins University, who has delegated responsibility for the program to the Vice Provost for Research. The Vice Provost for Research serves as IO, a position defined by federal law and PHS Policy. The IO coordinates policy regarding the Johns Hopkins University program with the Deans of the Schools of the University and the Director of Health Safety and Environment or their designees. The Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and the Associate Provost for Animal Research and Resources each have university-wide responsibilities in the program and report directly to the IO.
Research Animal Resources (RAR)
The Associate Provost for Animal Research and Resources heads the division of Research Animal Resources for the university. The Associate Provost is responsible for arranging and directing the program of animal husbandry and the program of veterinary medical care for all animals at the university. The Associate Provost reports directly to the IO.
The Director of Laboratory Animal Management oversees the program of husbandry in central facilities and in satellite facilities. Routine animal care is provided by either RAR or by investigator staff or trainees. In either case, RAR will assure that those providing animal care appropriately trained and knowledgeable such that animals in each facility will receive care of the highest quality. The Director consults with the IACUC regarding sustainability of proposed satellite housing prior to its approval for that use. Each satellite facility has a formally appointed individual who coordinates requirements and policies regarding laboratory animal care with RAR.
The Director of Laboratory Animal Medicine oversees the veterinary medical care of animals at the Johns Hopkins University through a 24-hour, 7-day/week on-call service staffed by clinical veterinarians trained, or in training, in laboratory animal care. Policies with respect to veterinary care at Johns Hopkins are promulgated by this office. The clinical veterinarians make rounds regularly and are available for consultation in the preparation of proposals for animal research or teaching.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
Oversight of the animal care and use program with respect to compliance with laws and policy in the responsibility of the IACUC. The committee chair in appointed by the IO with certain members serving federally mandated roles. The IACUC Chair reports directly to the IO.
Responsibilities of the IACUC are federally mandated by the Animal Welfare Act regulations and the Public Health Service Policy. Other entities that may fund research or teaching programs at the University also require that the IACUC carry out particular oversight functions. The Office of the IACUC is structured to support fulfillment of those responsibilities.
The IACUC Committee Coordinators process protocols, amendments, and various university standard operating procedures and policies for review by the IACUC. All research and teaching procedures to be carried out on living vertebrates must be approved the IACUC. It is authorized to suspend any protocol for cause. The IACUC must report protocol suspensions to particular government agencies and to AAALAC International through the IO.
The IACUC Training and Compliance Administrator and Coordinators serve the IACUC in several ways. The organize the IACUC semi-annual facility inspections, conducted in May and November, which cover all areas of the university in which animals are housed or used. These inspections precede the IACUC's semi-annual review of the animal care and use program in its entirety. The Coordinators send out notices of deviations discovered during the inspections, and follow up on corrections in unannounced visits. They inspect any area proposed for satellite housing to determine its suitability for this purpose in relation to IACUC policy and the Guide; and, in coordination with the Director of Laboratory Animal Management, make a recommendation to the IACUC regarding approval.
The Training and Compliance Coordinators investigate all animal welfare concerns reported to the IACUC office. If warranted, a Compliance subcommittee is convened to evaluate the information collected and to determine a corrective action plan. Many concerns are handled by facilitation of corrective actions without the need for a Compliance Subcommittee, but all concerns are reported to the committee and may be discussed at its meetings. Serious or continuing animal welfare or PHS policy deviations are reported through the IO to the appropriate government agency and to AAALAC International along with a corrective action plan.
The Training and Compliance Coordinators compare the procedures proposed in funding applications to approved IACUC protocols as required by individual funding agencies. If there are significant differences between proposals and approved protocols, the require submission of protocol amendments before the IACUC office can sign off on the grant.
At Johns Hopkins, the IACUC also supports specialized training programs related to animal care and use and to federal regulation. This work is handled by the Training and Compliance Coordinators, and includes among its efforts training staff for various levels of certification by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). In these training efforts, it engages veterinarians, safety specialists, and others with specialized knowledge.
Joint IACUC/Health Safety and Environment Committee
This Committee was formed by the IACUC Chair to coordinate policy-making, problem-solving, and educational initiatives related to the health and welfare of those who work with or around animals and Johns Hopkins. Its members include the Director of Health Safety and Environment for the University, the Associate Provost for Animal Research and Resources, the Attending Veterinarian, the Biosafety Officer, the Research Safety Specialist, the Director of the Occupational Health Office, the Occupational Health Nurse, and the IACUC Training and Compliance staff.
Facilities Management is a critical element of the Animal Care and Use Program. At Johns Hopkins, separate departments provide this function for the Homewood Campus, the School of Medicine, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The IACUC and the RAR coordinate needs for facility evaluation (e.g., heating and ventilation), repair, and pest control with each unit. Deficiencies related to facilities management issues that are identified in IACUC semi-annual inspections are reported to the appropriate facilities management director as well as to the investigator or Director of Laboratory Animal Management.