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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Office of Research Administration

Training Responsibilities

What training should be provided?

The Animal Welfare Act, Animal Welfare Regulations, Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals require all individuals working with animals in research and teaching to be adequately trained and qualified to ensure humane methods of animal experimentation, proper care and handling of animal species, and appropriate use of anesthetics, analgesics, and tranquilizers. All animal users must also be enrolled in an occupational health and safety program and be knowledgeable of applicable laboratory safety practices.

IACUC Process Road Maps

All of the following items need to be done in order to add a new scientist or existing animal users to your protocol. This list can also be downloaded as a checklist to facilitate the process. Upon receipt of your personnel amendment or protocol, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee will contact you to let you know what specific training items are needed. Individuals are not permitted to start animal work until all steps have been completed and IACUC approval of the associated personnel amendment or protocol has been received.

Training Requirements

There are 7 categories of training, and the specifics of each are detailed below:


Occupational Health and Safety Program

The Principal Investigator must make sure that everyone listed on his/her protocol that work with live, vertebrate animals participates in the Occupational Health and Safety Program, completing initial and annual health assessments. The New Scientist Questionnaire captures this assessment for new animal users. When visiting Student/Employee Health Services (SEHS) at 440 Lenox Road, Apt. 1S, new personnel need to bring these items with them as part of their assessment:

  • SEHS Risk Assessment Form – fillable PDF to complete, print, and bring to SEHS
  • Documentation of Tuberculosis screening within the past year – if available or not on file with SEHS
  • Immunization records for tetanus and measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) if available or not on file with SEHS

Personal health information must not be submitted to the IACUC. SEHS 'clearance' can be documented with one of these three formats:

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Laboratory Safety Training

All personnel working with animals are also required to complete online Laboratory Safety Training annually. The IACUC requires this for new scientists (included within the New Scientist Questionnaire), and the Principal Investigator is responsible for ensuring all personnel complete this annually. The laboratory safety training covers a variety of topics, including: 

  • Personal hygiene – How to reduce the risk of contamination to the person as well as surfaces, other personnel, and other animals.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – How to properly select and use personal protective equipment such as gloves, eye wear, lab coats, respirators, etc.
  • Hazardous Agent Use – Proper Use of Hazardous agents approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee.
  • Other Hazardous Materials – Information regarding other hazardous substances such as chemicals and radiation used within the work area. This may include the safety data sheets, personal protection and other pertinent safety information.
  • Injury and Illness Prevention – Inform all personnel on the information contained in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), the evacuation plan, and the availability of pertinent employee health and safety services, etc.
  • Blood borne Pathogens– How to take the necessary precautions when working with blood borne pathogens and what procedures to follow when possible contamination has occurred.

Options for Completion:

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Online CITI Program Training

Every person listed on a protocol must successfully complete the on line training courses conducted through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) website. First time users of the CITI training modules will register and should read the CITI Instruction Page before proceeding.  CITI Program's Animal Care and Use (ACU) materials cover general principles of ethical care and use of animals in research, training, and testing, as well as focusing on the care and use of particular species. Content is designed to meet United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) requirements for basic training in the humane care and use of animals. Species-specific materials in the Working with (species) in Research Settings courses focus on research involving specific species. Additional content focuses on aseptic surgery, post-procedure care and post-approval monitoring.

All personnel on the protocol are required to complete both the Basic Module for IACUC – Group 1: Researchers (faculty and lab staff) or Group 6: Students working with animals and species-specific modules for which they are working. Additionally, the Principal Investigator (regardless of their role) and all personnel performing survival or terminal surgery are also required to complete the Aseptic Surgery module every three years. New and 3-year renewal protocols and personnel amendments cannot be approved until the required modules have been completed by all personnel. These courses are required to be completed on a 3-year cycle. The IACUC receives completion reports for each module by email and records of course and module completion is maintained by and accessible through CITI's website.

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Hands-on Wet Lab Training:

The DCM veterinary staff provides hands-on wet lab training for species-specific animal handling and biomethodology. This includes but is not limited to anesthesia administration and monitoring, post-operative monitoring, substance administration techniques, blood collection techniques, common methods of euthanasia, and principles of aseptic surgery for protocol personnel who have direct contact with laboratory animals. Individual or small group hands-on training sessions are tailored to meet individual needs. The IACUC and DCM recognize that many researchers have previously received extensive training and are proficient with the applicable procedures and techniques. In these instances, their training can be streamlined by having individuals demonstrate their proficiency with specific procedures and techniques as a skills assessment during their wet lab training. Occupational health clearance, online laboratory safety training, and online CITI trainings need to be completed prior to attending wet lab training.

Wet lab training needs to be completed for each species used by personnel who meet these criteria when associated with new and 3-year renewal protocols or amendments adding new procedures (e.g., oral gavage, blood collection techniques, surgery) or personnel before the submissions can be approved. Animal users working with animals at Downstate prior to March 2014 are exempt from the hands-on wet lab training for that species, unless a new procedure or technique is added to the protocol for which the user is not proficient. DCM is available to accommodate additional training requests by users at any time. Animal users can sign up for species-specific wet-lab courses through LibCal. For additional training needs or to coordinate a skills assessment, personnel should contact

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Animal Facility Orientation:

An orientation to the DCM animal facility is also provided prior to being granted access through swipe access ID cards. Personnel can sign up for a facility orientation through LibCal. Multiple topics are covered during facility orientation, some of which are species-specific. Occupational health clearance, online laboratory safety training, and online CITI trainings need to be completed prior to attending animal facility orientation.



Principal Investigator Training Responsibilities:

In addition to ensuring annual completion of the laboratory safety training, the PI is responsible to ensure that all protocol personnel are trained and proficient with animal care and use procedures described in the protocol. The PI or experienced staff member will train protocol-specific procedures and techniques directly related to the scientific study. Documentation of this training can be accomplished in many formats (e.g., surgical records, behavior assessment records, laboratory notebooks, personnel specific records – editable sample template available, or laboratory/group specific records – editable sample template available).

This documentation would include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Protocol Specific Procedures & Techniques – Any protocol specific procedures or techniques, such as surgical procedures, behavioral procedures, perfusion techniques, and procedures or techniques not covered by hands-on wet lab training provided by DCM.
  • Hazardous Agent & Equipment Use – Review of any laboratory specific safety concerns.
  • Special Provisions for Animal Care and Husbandry – Knowledge of procedures necessary for animal care and husbandry for investigator maintained animals or special husbandry requirements performed by protocol personnel within the animal facility (e.g., provision of special diet, medicated water)..
  • Record keeping & Monitoring (Intra/Post-Procedure) – How to maintain the necessary records and the monitoring procedures detailed in the IACUC protocol.
  • Reporting Animal Welfare Concerns – Information on how to report and to whom to report animal welfare concerns and emergencies.

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