Evaluating IACUCs: Previous Research and Future Directions

Madeline L. Budda, Stacy L. Pritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


IACUCs serve a critical role in animal care and use programs, ensuring that institutions which use animals in research and teaching do so responsibly and humanely. This role is defined in part by federal regulations, policies, and guidelines that prescribe the establishment and function of these committees. Often, IACUC administrators are expected to evaluate IACUC performance to ensure that committees execute these functions effectively, and in a manner that is suitable to the institution. However, methods for IACUC performance evaluation have not been well described in the peer-reviewed literature. To address this deficit, we conducted a systematic review using MEDLINE to identify methods that have been used to assess IACUCs. The scope of this review was intentionally broad to capture evaluation methods used by other institutional committees with similar responsibilities in overseeing research conduct, including animal ethics committees (AECs), institutional biosafety committees (IBCs), and institutional review boards (IRBs). Over 100 publications that included empirical evaluation methods were identified, although only 17 evaluated IACUCs in the United States. A substantial number of the studies used qualitative methods, such as surveys or questionnaires, interviews, and observations. The IACUC functions and characteristics most often assessed in the 17 publications included components of the protocol review processes and committee membership. We compiled this information to offer IACUC administrators a source of methodologies that can be incorporated into quality improvement and IACUC performance evaluation efforts. We also suggest ways in which organizations may evaluate IACUCs using methods described in the literature for other types of committees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-664
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • AEC Animal Ethics Committee
  • IACUC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
  • IBC Institutional Biosafety Committee
  • IRB Institutional Review Board
  • PAM Post-Approval Monitoring
  • PI Principal Investigator
  • QI Quality Improvement
  • REC Research Ethics Committee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating IACUCs: Previous Research and Future Directions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this