HOUSTON—Baylor College of Medicine has ended the use of live animals in its emergency medicine residency program, following outreach from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a national nonprofit of 12,000 doctors. Upon learning of the college’s animal use, the Physicians Committee shared information on alternative training methods and their efficacy and invited a dialogue with the program’s leadership. When the college failed to respond, the Physicians Committee launched a public campaign and filed a federal complaint regarding the animal use.
Last Thursday’s demonstration urging the college to end the animal use, led by Physicians Committee doctors and attended by Houston-area residents, prompted Baylor to state that it has ended animal use in its emergency medicine residency program.
Previously at Baylor, live pigs were used for training emergency medicine residents in lethal training sessions. The Baylor College of Medicine Simulation Center can provide the resources to replace the use of live animals in Baylor’s emergency medicine residency.
According to a survey of programs in the United States and Canada, 95 percent (255 out of 267) now exclude live animal use. All civilian emergency medicine residencies in Texas use human-relevant methods alone, including the five programs affiliated with Texas A&M or the University of Texas.
“We’re pleased to see Baylor modernize its emergency medicine resident training by switching to nonanimal methods,” said Physicians Committee member Bandana Chawla, M.D., of Houston. “Human-relevant methods provide the best training experience and appropriately prepare doctors to treat human patients.”
Human-based medical simulators and human cadavers are widely used to teach emergency procedures. The simulators accurately replicate human anatomy and physiology and can include layers of lifelike skin, fat, and muscle.
The Physicians Committee has more than 12,000 doctor members, including 571 in Texas.
To interview Dr. Chawla, please contact Reina Pohl at 202-527-7326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reina Pohl, MPH
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.