Statement from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine on Morristown Medical Center Eliminating the Use of Animals for Emergency Medicine Training

The Physicians Committee
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NEWS RELEASE November 18, 2016
Statement from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine on Morristown Medical Center Eliminating the Use of Animals for Emergency Medicine Training
From John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., Director of Academic Affairs

On Nov. 17, officials at Morristown Medical Center announced that they are immediately ending the use of live dogs in their emergency medicine program. The announcement follows a public campaign by the Physicians Committee aimed at ending the practice, and we congratulate the hospital’s leadership for making this scientifically and ethically sound decision.

Prior to this decision, the Physicians Committee—a nonprofit representing more than 12,000 concerned physicians—sponsored train station ads in Morristown and a billboard on the New Jersey Turnpike. This public campaign followed four months of efforts and, with the cooperation of Morristown Medical Center, resulted in ending the use of animals.

Morristown Medical Center joins the 89 percent (now 143 of 160) of U.S. emergency medicine residency programs surveyed by the Physicians Committee that teach their residents numerous urgent and life-saving procedures without using animals. We are hopeful that emergency medicine programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, and Vanderbilt University in Nashville will follow Morristown’s lead in switching to modern training methods.

To prepare future physicians for the work they will perform throughout their careers, medical training must be human-focused, not animal-focused, due to the significant anatomical and physiological differences across species. Modern simulators allow residents to practice procedural skills on models designed to replicate human anatomy and physiology.

This news marks the completion of the Physicians Committee’s campaign. We are grateful to the public in Morristown and throughout New Jersey for weighing in on behalf of this change. We can now end these public comments and congratulate Morristown Medical Center for undertaking its review of best training practices and ending animal use.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training.