Research Animal Ethics Oversight Committee Looking for Volunteers

The research animal ethics oversight committee at the VA Puget Sound is called the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, or IACUC.  We are looking for a new non-scientist member for the committee,

Having an IACUC in place is required by several federal laws (including the Animal Welfare Act). These laws specify that the committee has to include a researcher, a veterinarian, a member of the public who is unaffiliated with the institution, and a non-scientist member.  We are looking to find a new non-scientist member.  To qualify as a non-scientist, the person must have primary interests and education outside of the biological sciences. So, for example, an accountant or construction worker or English teacher or baker or soldier or tinker or tailor or spy… just not a scientist.  The reason the laws specify that such a person be included is so that the research protocols reviewed will be written at a level understandable to someone with a high school education; if the taxpayers’ dollars are being spent to support the research, the average taxpayer should be able to understand why the work is being done.

Our committee meets once each month at the Seattle VA, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 2:30 pm.  Meetings typically run from 1.5 to 2 hours. We prefer attendance in person, but it is possible to participate in meetings by phone or video link-up, as long as the person can interact with the committee in real-time.  Twice each year the committee inspects (physically walks thru) the facilities where animals are housed and used in research work.  We provide training for all IACUC members (there is a computer-based training class, and we train in person, as well as a one-day meeting at a conference center in Lynnwood each February).  We can reimburse expenses for travel (for example gas money) to the meetings.

Our VA research is intended to improve the health of Veterans. The research animals we work with are primarily mice and rats, and some pigs. We have investigations ranging from better treatments for Diabetes, to ways to prevent alcoholics from relapsing, to treatments for mild traumatic brain injury (like that received from being exposed to an improvised explosive device or IED), to understanding how inflammation affects the brain, to prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease, to cancer therapy, to understanding and treatments for seizures…. and more. It’s a very exciting set of research programs, and I’d love to talk with anyone who is interested about what we do, and how we do it. We are committed to treating animals humanely, and in fact we have two veterinarians on staff dedicated to overseeing the program of animal care and use, and training of all research staff who will work with animals.

Cynthia Pekow, DVM, DACLAM, CPIA
Chief, Veterinary Medical Unit
Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System
1660 S. Columbian Way
Seattle, Washington  98018  USA
206-764-2448  FAX 206-768-5358