In a story posted recently by Cleveland.com, NEOMED was asked for a statement regarding claims made by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine that the University allowed the use of dogs for emergency residency training programs. See the University’s updated statement.
NEOMED Statement [Update to the University’s response to Cleveland.com]
Re: “Northeast Ohio Medical University targeted for allowing dogs to be used for medical training”
Northeast Ohio Medical University, through education, research and service, improves the health, economy and quality of life of the diverse communities of Northeast Ohio. NEOMED educates medical, pharmacy and graduate students via its curriculum that does not include the use of live animals. NEOMED does not direct the education or training of emergency room residents, however, the University does provide a variety of services to the medical and research communities.
While South Pointe Hospital previously engaged with NEOMED to provide the dogs used in the training of their residents, currently, there are no scheduled engagements with NEOMED to provide this service to South Pointe or any other residency program in the future.
Consistent with NEOMED’s mission to train health care professionals to serve the citizens of Northeast Ohio, NEOMED permits external entities – such as South Pointe Hospital - to utilize the animal care facilities at NEOMED on a guest basis after having had their protocol carefully considered and approved by a trained and duly constituted Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The Principal Investigator (PI) from South Pointe Hospital engaged with NEOMED to host the emergency medicine resident training. The PI certified to the IACUC that other alternatives being considered were found to be inadequate for purposes of training emergency room residents.
The animals utilized in the procedure were purpose-bred specifically for research and training. The animals were fully anesthetized prior to the procedure, monitored carefully to assure they did not experience any pain or discomfort, and were humanely euthanized without regaining consciousness.
NEOMED takes great care to ensure that all animal procedures conducted under any IACUC-approved protocol abide by the highest standards for the ethical and humane treatment of animals. It is indeed a goal of NEOMED to minimize the numbers of animals that must be utilized for such training procedures and to consider all alternatives to the use of animals for these trainings.
NEOMED also has a state of the art simulation center--The Wasson Center--that is primarily focused on skill development in the areas of interpersonal/communication skills, systems based practice and patient care. There are many residency programs that use the Wasson Center, which offers standardized patients, task trainers and low technology simulation models for procedural skills training. The facility is currently not equipped for surgical skills training. NEOMED is, however, planning an expansion of its simulation capabilities to include high tech models for other skill development, including surgical skills.
While we respect views from different organizations, there is considerable debate in the medical education community about the quality of alternative training models compared to the use of live animals.
NEOMED complies with all federal and state laws and regulations governing the appropriate care and use of animals in research and training programs. NEOMED has maintained continuous accreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC) since 1982. AAALAC accreditation is the hallmark for ethical and humane treatment of animals in research and training.