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ILAR J. 2008;49(4):379-87.

The institutional official and postapproval monitoring: the view from 10,000 feet.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB 4100, Bynum Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-4100, USA.


The role of the institutional official (IO) in ensuring a high-quality program of laboratory animal care and use has received relatively little attention in the literature compared to that of the institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) or attending veterinarian. Yet the IO is critical to institutional effectiveness. Often not a scientist, especially at colleges and universities, the IO is an executive who bears ultimate responsibility for the care and use of laboratory animals. An IO operates largely through delegation to the IACUC and the institutional veterinarian, yet must maintain a clear view of the program from the executive level--the "view from 10,000 feet." To do so, the IO must bring four critical leadership qualities to the position: (1) vision, (2) a commitment to quality and integrity, (3) strong planning and resource development, and (4) accountability to the laboratory animal program. The IO's ability to act on these qualities and to evaluate the effectiveness of the resulting program requires reliance on a strong program of postapproval monitoring (PAM). Summary data from PAM, based on metrics carefully defined by the IO in consultation with the IACUC and the institutional veterinarian, provide the feedback necessary to guide executive decisions and allow the IO to place the needs of the program of laboratory animal care and use successfully into the larger context of the mission of the institution.

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