March 12-25, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 5
Back Issues
Barcelona: A laboratory for learning
Lindners create endowment for art history program
Kaleidoscope opens with community celebration
Headlines @ U.Va.
Free clinic grows beyond founders’ vision
Simulators to replace use of dogs
Cooking up a winner
Robert Marquez: Engineering environmental solutions with low-tech designs
Engineers Without Borders — U.Va. engineering students share their expertise
U.Va. maps out
Ten-year milestone gives book festival celebratory theme
Storyteller, healer Martin Prechtel to visit U.Va.
Environmental writers Lopez, Philippon to speak
Book art meets ‘Literary Art’
A pillar of Carr’s Hill, housekeeper Barbara Jett retires
Simulators to replace use of dogs

Staff report

Following weeks of discussion about the use of dogs in medical education, the University’s top medical officials announced Feb. 26 that they were discontinuing the use of dogs in surgical training in favor of state-of-the-art simulators.

The announcement was the result of recommendations made by a special committee — commissioned earlier in the month by Dr. Arthur “Tim” Garson Jr., vice president and dean of the School of Medicine, and R. Edward Howell, vice president and chief executive officer of the Medical Center — charged with reviewing the use of animal models in medical education in the wake of questions raised about the use of dogs in an elective lab called Life Saving Techniques.

Garson and Howell also temporarily suspended the lab, pending completion of the committee report. “Although the [Life Saving Techniques] course is reviewed every year by a committee that includes community members, we decided that it was important to further examine the issues at this time. …We are confident that this additional review process is the right step to take,” Garson said.

Proponents of the use of dogs in the lab — including more than 250 medical-student petitioners — argued that the practice was necessary for providing a realistic surgical experience.

The report to Garson and Howell concluded that advances in simulation offered new opportunities to learn many skills previously taught with animals, and recommended the use of simulation models in the Life Saving Techniques lab.

After much deliberation, Garson said, he and Howell accepted the committee’s recommendation to implement changes, noting that they would immediately ask members of the teaching faculty and the Curriculum Committee to redesign how the activities — emergency care skills and surgical skills — are currently taught in Life Saving Techniques, so students can complete the course work before the end of June.

In summary, the review committee stated, “We remain committed to dedicating the necessary time and resources to provide an outstanding level of medical education to our students and to have a program in place to meet the career needs of our current students.”


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