4. An internal and external community outreach program
“Institutions using animals need to communicate effectively and on an ongoing basis with the internal and external community and the media. It is important to build these relationships over time and to keep individuals in all of these areas informed about the significance of the work in which animals are used, and the institution’s commitment to scientific standards through quality animal care and use. Being proactive by conveying significant advances in research using animals ethically and humanely can reduce the potential for negative public reactions in a crisis situation.”
>> More in the ARENA/OLAW Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Guidebook Section B.6.a.
Institutional and public understanding of the value of scientific research is enhanced through openness and engagement. Institutions should consider developing community outreach programs that reflect their unique location, research portfolio, relationship to stakeholders, etc. There are a variety of resources that can help institutions and investigators realize this goal, including:
- Many institutions have well-developed community outreach programs which may serve as models for institutions that share similar profiles and communication needs. Similar organizations are generally very willing to share effective outreach tools.
- A variety of professional associations and societies provide public education materials.
- The NIH Office of Communication and Public Liaison produces Clear Communication site on promoting health literacy to the public.