The Duke Animal Care & Use Program offers a training and certification program for individuals wishing to serve as their laboratory ‘go-to’ person for animal care and use activities. Referred to as the Research Animal Coordinator (RAC) certification program, individual’s who participate in this program will receive specific and detailed information concerning animal care & use at Duke. Those who achieve certification may be designated by the Principal Investigator to serve as the laboratory coordinator for all animal activities and provide in-lab guidance regarding animal care & use at Duke. In addition to assisting with protocol development and processing, the RAC will be trained to provide internal compliance assistance and hands-on procedure skills to laboratory members. The Duke animal program views the RAC as the in-laboratory ‘subject matter expert,’ who will facilitate successful humane and efficient use of animals in research activities at Duke. This program has direct research applicability to the researcher (smoother research application approval, accelerated approval, decreased risk of non-compliance issues) while also benefiting the RAC candidate (enhancing the value to the research team, improving research skills, improved knowledge of how to ‘get things done’ for animal care or use issues. RAC training, a Duke specific training initiative, may be used as ‘basic training’ leading to formal certification with AALAS as an ALAT, LAT, LATg.
Classes and Content:
PHASE I will consist of an introductory session which describes the expectations and sets a time frame for accomplishment of the required modules. PHASE I is Core material required of all candidates. Core material training is approximately 80% web module training which can be accomplished at the convenience of the candidate, but within the range of dates for the specific CLASS. The remaining sessions are small group seminars with animal program leadership. See the Curriculum Matrix for more detail.
PHASE II will consist of species specific training. The discussions and activities of PHASE II will focus on the specie(s) in use in the RAC candidate’s laboratory.
Benefits of RAC Certification:
The RAC program is voluntary, and offered at no-cost by the Duke animal care & use program. Managed by the Office of Animal Welfare Assurance (OAWA) with significant contributions from the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) and the institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC), the RAC program uses a multi-modal educational approach (e.g., lectures, web-modules, meetings, one-on-one discussion, and hands-on learning).
As a certified RAC, individuals shall have a greater overall knowledge of animal research, and a clear understanding of how to efficiently conduct fully compliant research at Duke. The RAC program will include:
- Development of protocol applications and amendments: The RAC will receive instruction for writing an animal use application.
- Processing of protocol applications and amendments: The RAC will be able to facilitate the principal investigator through the application processes.
- Protocol and grant concordance: The RAC will be trained on the grant: protocol concordance review process.
- Policies and guidelines: The RAC will receive training in Duke animal program polices and guidelines and their development. This will allow them to rapidly identify which ones are applicable to their laboratory and animal use.
- Laboratory Personnel Training: The RAC will receive advice and direction on effective monitoring of laboratory personnel training status and recommendation to ensure that all members are up-to-date and compliant.
- Laboratory Resources: The RAC will be seen as the ‘in-lab’ go-to person for questions on animal welfare, regulations, protocol compliance and animal procedures.
- Basic Animal Procedures: The RAC will receive wet-lab training and be able to instruct laboratory personnel on appropriate animal handling and basic animal procedures.
- Laboratory Liaison: The RAC will have the skills to serve as a liaison and facilitator for communication between the laboratory and the IACUC, OAWA and DLAR.
- Mentor: The RAC will have the skills to educate and facilitate aseptic surgical procedures, animal monitoring, and record keeping.
- Animal Care & Use Compliance: The RAC will have the knowledge to effectively guide laboratory personnel in ensuring compliance.
- Ombudsman: The RAC can serve as a central laboratory member who will disseminate updates in protocol information, new or modified policy updates.
- The RAC program consist small ‘CLASSES’ of participants, generally 6-10 candidates in a specific ‘class.’ The successful candidate will complete both ‘PHASES’ of the RAC program.