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AALAS Student Perspective

68th AALAS National Meeting

October 15th – October 19th, 2017

A veterinary student’s perspective on the yearly conference for laboratory animal care and research

The AALAS (American Association for Laboratory Animal Science) National Meeting is an enormous conference held for laboratory animal care and welfare each year. As a veterinary student interested in laboratory animal medicine, the best way to prepare for a laboratory animal career is to become involved with the field. I was granted the opportunity by Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) to travel to Austin, TX and share our ideas at the 68th AALAS National Meeting.

Experiences such as the AALAS National Meeting increase in value with active participation. This year, I would share a poster presentation with the National Meeting attendees.

Prior to the National Meeting, I worked with RUSVM to develop an SOP Writing Program. An SOP refers to Standard Operating Procedures. These documents are used to detail the care, husbandry and medical procedures involving animals. SOP’s are commonly used in laboratory animal medicine and other veterinary fields.

RUSVM wanted to provide students with the opportunity to write SOP documents during their academic career. The RUSVM IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) teamed up with students of the RUSVM Chapter of ASLAP (American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners) to design a program for students to write SOP documents with faculty or staff mentorship. Feedback was provided through a survey that showed student participants self-reported improved writing skills, confidence and familiarity with SOPs after joining the program.

Early success of the RUSVM SOP Writing Program, allowed for the development of a poster presentation to be shared at the 68th AALAS National Meeting.

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Any veterinary conference is bound to be overwhelming, and the AALAS National Meeting was no exception. The four days of meeting were packed with poster and lecture presentations. One could spend an entire day listening to lectures and presentations from amazing veterinarians, researchers and students from across the country.

It was often necessary to take a break and explore the various sale booths prepared by hundreds of different laboratory animal and research companies. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn about new feed products, caging systems and other developments in animal care and husbandry. As with any conference, it’s also a good time to collect a plethora of company labeled pens.

The RUSVM SOP Writing Program poster presentation proved to be a great success at the National Meeting. As a student, sharing these ideas in a formal environment has given me a greater confidence in my professional abilities. Sharing the results of the SOP Writing Program ideally encouraged other universities to provide similar programs to benefit their students as well.

Being welcomed by the veterinarians and scientific minds contributing to the National Meeting has inspired me to do greater work in laboratory animal medicine as I go forth as a graduating veterinarian in May 2018.

I highly recommend the AALAS National Meeting to any veterinary student interested in laboratory animal medicine, exotics, pocket pets and animal welfare.





Written and Experienced by:

Leeza Hargreaves

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, DVM candidate 2018

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