Committees

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The Research and Development (R&D) Committee

The Research and Development (R&D) Committee is responsible through the Chief of Staff to the Director of the medical center for maintaining high standards throughout the facility’s R&D program.

These standards include those that assure the scientific quality of the R&D projects, protection of human rights, laboratory safety, and welfare of animal subjects in research and development. It advises the Director on professional and administrative aspects of the R&D program. All R&D activities within the facility, whether funded or unfunded, are within its purview.

The R&D Committee acts as the governing body of the Research Service at the VALBHS. It serves as a parent committee to all of its subcommittees, including the IRB.

The R&D Committee must review and approve all research projects, which have been reviewed and approved by the IRB, regardless of funding status and source, prior to study initiation.

The R&D Committee may strengthen requirements and/or conditions, or add other modifications to a research project to secure R&D Committee approval. If the R&D Committee requests changes to the IRB approved research project, those changes must also be reviewed and approved by the IRB, prior to final R&D Committee approval.


Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a subcommittee to the Research & Development (R&D) Committee, which is the primary governing body of a research program conducted at a VA medical center. The R&D Committee is responsible for the scientific quality and appropriateness of all research involves the use of human subject conducted at the Long Beach Medical Center (also known as VALBHS.)

The IRB is required by federal, state and VA regulations to review proposed human studies protocols in order to determine if they have been designed in a safe and ethical manner, and to assure that the risks to human participants will be reduced as much as possible. There is a long history to the review of human studies research.

Subcommittee of the R&D Committee, the IRB meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month.


Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Comprised of investigators, a veterinarian, the VMU staff, and at least one representative from the public, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversees all VA research that involves vertebrate animals in order to ensure that the highest ethical and animal welfare standards are met.

The IACUC reviews all animal projects for compliance with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act and Regulations, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and VA Policies and Guidelines, and may suspend any activity involving animals which violates approved animal welfare regulations, policies, and procedures.

The IACUC coordinates training, compliance, and occupational health programs. The IACUC offers standardized on-line training and consults with researchers preparing animal studies. The IACUC works with Employee Health to ensure that all individuals with animal contact are trained and monitored for prevention of animal-associated injuries, illnesses and infections. There is also a part-time statistician available.

Working Closely with the IACUC, our Veterinary Medical Unit (VMU) is fully accredited from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC).


Subcommittee on Research Safety (SRS)

As a subcommittee of the Research & Development (R&D) Committee, the Subcommittee on Research Safety (SRS) is responsible for reviewing and overseeing the protocol safety of all research activities involving biological, chemical, physical, and radiation hazards for compliance with all applicable regulations, policies, and guidelines. This includes a review of all research activities (either funded or non-funded) that will be conducted at the VALBHS or conducted off-site by VA personnel with VA funding.

The SRS is charged by the R&D Committee with the responsibility to maintain a Research Safety Program that is consistent with VA policies, Federal statutes and regulations from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), etc., and any applicable State and local requirements. All applicable National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines must be followed.

The provisions of this SOP apply to all research that is conducted completely or partially in VA facilities, conducted in approved off-site locations and facilities, or conducted by VA researchers while on VA official duty time. The research may be VA funded, funded from extra-VA sources, or conducted without direct funding. As a minimum, facility safety personnel must verify that other or remote facilities adhere to health and safety standards that are equivalent to VA standards.


The Research Security Subcommittee (RSSC)

The availability of human pathogens, their products, chemicals, gases, radioactive materials, and/or radioactive sources for VA research, is essential for advancing medical knowledge to meet and improve the health care needs of the veteran population.

In the past decade, biological and chemical terrorist events in the United States and in other countries have become a reality. The protection of VA personnel, patients, visitors, and the surrounding community from terrorist events demands stringent controls for the use of hazardous agents capable of being used as weapons of mass destruction.

The Research Security Subcommittee (RSSC) is charged by the R&D Committee with the responsibility to maintain the security of the research program in a manner that is consistent with VA policies, Federal statutes and regulations from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), etc., and any applicable State and local requirements.