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Environmental Factor

November 2011

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NIEHS marks accreditation visit with sunshine and barbecue

By Ian Thomas
November 2011

Julius Thigpen, Ph.D. and Diane Forsythe, D.V.M. celebrating

Thigpen, left, and Forsythe had much to celebrate after long hours spent readying the animal facility for its accreditation review. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Lots of people at the barbecue

Despite the long lines, a sizable crowd turned out to enjoy traditional barbeque and sides. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS lead researchers at the barbecue

Not surprisingly, lead researchers, including NIEHS Scientific Director Darryl Zeldin, M.D., right, turned out to show their support and respect for the folks at CMB who make certification possible. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The NIEHS Comparative Medicine Branch (CMB) hosted an afternoon of sunshine, socializing, and Carolina barbecue Oct. 18 as a celebration of the successful completion of the Institute's site visit by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International. CMB wanted to thank many others at the Institute for their hard work and dedication during the triennial accreditation evaluation. 

“We've been doing this ever since I got here in 1972,” said Julius Thigpen, Ph.D., an NIEHS microbiologist and head of the CMB Quality Assurance Laboratory.

Every three years, the NIEHS animal care and use program must undergo a rigorous reevaluation of its AAALAC accreditation, in order to ensure that the program's use of animals follows all regulations and guidelines, and maintains the highest standards possible. This process requires an extensive amount of time and effort by the CMB staff, the bulk of which takes place long before the two-day site visit, hence the need for a little well-deserved rest and relaxation once the process has concluded. 

“The success of the AAALAC site visit relies on the day-to-day efforts of everyone involved with providing outstanding care and support to not only the research animals themselves, but also the investigators who rely so heavily on them for their research efforts,” said Diane Forsythe, D.V.M., NIEHS animal program director and chief of the Comparative Medicine Branch. “ We are incredibly grateful for all of the support we receive, year in and year out, from everyone here in the Division of Intramural Research, the Office of Management, and many others across NIEHS.” 

The AAALAC will announce its official decision regarding NIEHS's ongoing accreditation in the spring of 2012. 

(Ian Thomas is a public affairs specialist for the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)

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