The NIH has launched a new Web site, Medical Research with Animals: For Researchers and Institutions, as part of our work to support NIH-funded scientists using animal models.
Vaccines, medicines, therapies, surgical interventions, and preventive health care are all essential to maintaining high standards of health worldwide. Medical research that uses animals makes a tremendous contribution to the development of new and life-saving interventions, as well as to our overall understanding of human and animal physiology. Like all NIH-funded research, medical research involving animals must go through a strict peer review and approval process based on federal regulations to ensure the protection of animal welfare.
As the Deputy Director for Extramural Research, I care deeply about the well-being of NIH-supported researchers, animals used in medical research, and institutions with animal programs. One of my chief concerns since joining OER has been the creation of a proactive and supportive environment for researchers and institutions with NIH-supported animal research programs. NIH-funded scientists engaging in this type of research dedicate themselves to supporting the welfare of animals in the critically important medical research that protects and promotes the health of humans and animals alike.
The majority of Americans support carefully regulated and appropriate use of animals in medical research benefitting human and animal health. But some people do not believe that animals should be used in medical research. NIH-supported projects have sometimes been opposed through legal protests that are protected by free speech. Unfortunately, there also exists the threat of violence against individuals and institutions whose research involves the use of animals. Just in the past year, NIH-supported researchers and their families have been subject to threats, harassment, and acts of domestic terrorism. Important research institutions have also been threatened.
When threats or incidents of violence occur, it is critical that institutions and researchers are prepared and able to respond quickly. To that end, OER has created a resource for researchers, and institutions that use animals in NIH-supported science. A new Web site, Animals in Medical Research: Resources for Researchers and Institutions, provides guidance for preparedness and crisis management by researchers and institutions, and information on how NIH can help. It also provides quick access to funding opportunities focused on animals in research, resources to assist with grant writing, and training and education for animal care and use, models, and science and ethics. A sister site designed for the general public is set to be launched in the near future.
The Medical Research with Animals: For Researchers and Institutions site is just beginning. It will continue to evolve and improve over time with your suggestions and experiences, so please use the “Contact Us” link to submit your questions and comments.
— Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D.
OER Director and NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research