Table Topics: A No-Cost IACUC Member Continuing Education Program


Problem statement: Institutions are required to ensure adequate training for all personnel involved in the use of animals in research, including IACUC members. At many institutions, IACUC members are provided with an orientation to the Committee and may attend a few meetings as an observer prior to being appointed as a member. However, ensuring appropriate continuing education for members can be a challenge. While IACUC administrators and some Committee members may have the opportunity to attend conferences and courses related to IACUC topics, financial and time constraints make it unlikely that all members of an institution’s IACUC would be able to join such opportunities. To address this issue, the Novartis Cambridge IACUC implemented a program called Table Topics; a series of member-provided presentations to enrich the understanding of the Committee as a whole. The program is no-cost and requires a minimum of time during each meeting. The intended result is better engagement of Committee members and awareness about current topics of importance to animal care and use programs. 

Description of research: All IACUC members are required to prepare and provide a presentation to the Committee on a topic relevant to the Committee’s function. Typically, five to 10 minute presentations are given at each monthly meeting, and are followed by five minutes of conversation about the topic. Members are encouraged to choose either a topic that they know little about so that they can benefit from the research process or a topic in which they are expert so that the other members can benefit from their knowledge. To evaluate the program, at the one year anniversary of implementation Committee members were asked for feedback on the overall program. One hundred percent felt that it had been beneficial and provided value to the members, both in presenting and learning from presentations.