MRICD Employees Earn Specialized Professional Certification
Two employees of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Robyn Lee and Pauletta Adkins, have earned their credentials as certified professional Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee administrators through a program developed by Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research.
Lee is the institute's biostatistician assigned to the Office of the Commander, and she has been the full-time chair of MRICD's IACUC since 2010. She previously served briefly as acting chair in 2009 and has been a committee member since 1992. Adkins is the IACUC coordinator, which is a position she has held since late 2001. Prior to this, she served as acting coordinator and was a backup for the position as part of her secretarial duties in what is now MRICD's Research Support Division.
"[Their certification] is one more important indicator of the MRICD's IACUC commitment to the highest standards in animal care and use," said Col. Peter Schultheiss, commander of MRICD and a laboratory animal medicine veterinarian within the Army's Veterinary Corps.
PRIM&R developed the Certified Professional IACUC Administrator (CPIA®) program to "improve the quality of animal care and use programs nationwide by promoting ethical practices and advanced knowledge of IACUC administration." Established in 2006, the CPIA program is managed by the Council for Certified Professional IACUC Administrators, which is populated by volunteers, including MRICD's RSD chief, Lt. Col. Shannon Stutler, a Veterinary Corps officer.
Certification is intended for individuals involved in the daily business of an organization's IACUC, but is also available to those generally involved in IACUC activities who meet certain eligibility requirements. An exam testing the candidates' knowledge and understanding of the "United States rules and regulations, prevailing ethical codes, and administrative 'best practices'" is administered by a professional testing company with guidance provided by the CPIA council. Once obtained, certification is active for five years.
Lee and Adkins took their Certification Examination for Professional IACUC Administrators in mid-April after studying regularly, together and individually, since January.
According to Lee, the credentialing process expanded her knowledge of the current laws and regulations and elucidated their applicability to MRICD's animal care and use program and its IACUC.
"I think having that knowledge will provide for opportunities to aid the committee in their deliberations," said Lee.
With similar expectations for her improved understanding of the laws and regulations, Adkins said, "I hope to be able to help investigators with questions on their animal use protocols and help IACUC members in their review of protocols and amendments."
Additionally, as the IACUC coordinator, Adkins primarily has been an observer and recorder at the committee's meetings, but she hopes that the increased confidence she has gained through certification will inspire her to more actively participate in the committee's discussions.