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Highlighting the Dept. of Laboratory Animal Resources

r. Larry Shelton - Department of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR)

1. How has the pandemic affected your vision for your first year as attending veterinarian at UMD?

My vision included establishing and building relationships with stakeholders with an interpersonal approach; getting out and connecting with faculty and staff. Not being able to do that has been a major adjustment to my typical approach.
 

2. How did your staff manage to fulfill key functions that cannot be performed virtually?

The animal care staff are not only essential personnel; they are great teammates. Through constant communication, adherence to safety guidance, proper planning, limiting non-essential services, and creative scheduling, we were able to stay healthy and ensure high standards of animal welfare.
 

3. What roles have animal researchers and biosafety professionals filled in the response and how might they contribute to responding to emerging risks? What kind of professional development would you recommend to your staff and UMD's researchers to prepare for a better response in the future?

I had the opportunity to participate in a preparedness exercise shortly before the pandemic really began to affect campus activities. The exercise included leaders from across the campus and local community. I believe more of these exercises are needed. Researchers who work with animals and biosafety professionals are critical to the process. These individuals have expertise in medical and scientific disciplines that are key to properly responding to public health emergencies.
 

4. In what ways did the Biosafety team assist the laboratory animal community to responding to this crisis?

The Biosafety team has always been available to answer questions and assist researchers and support staff in resolving issues to safely continue our important research mission.
 

5. How are you managing PPE shortages and other supply issues?

One of the things we did early on was to increase our usual emergency supply of PPE and critical supplies in anticipation of an extended event. We also kept lines of communication open with suppliers and campus procurement staff to obtain what we need to maintain operations.
 

6. What else do you want to tell the audience?

This one is easy. Thank you for all your hard work and perseverance during this very tumultuous period.