For the Media
MSMR is a member organization that focuses on the use of animals in biomedical research, teaching and testing – a critically important, and often controversial issue underlying medical progress. We also take an active interest in life science education, and in other crucially important topics in biomedicine, such as the work of the oversight committees charged with protecting humans (Institutional Review Boards and Institutional Biosafety Committees) and animals (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees) in research studies.
We provide materials and experiences to classroom teachers and their students, sponsor professional development training for the research community, and engage in public outreach and legislative monitoring regarding issues important to our members.
Our Mission: We promote and enhance biomedical research, including the humane care and use of animals, for the improved health and well-being of people, animals and the environment.
In fulfilling our mission, we foster a better understanding of biomedicine by improving basic science literacy in and enthusiasm for the biological and health sciences among the public, the media and future generations of citizens and scientists.
We have a perspective that transcends narrow segments, with our membership representing academic basic research, hospitals and institutes, life science, medical devices, biotechnology, diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals. And it is with this perspective that we set out here to provide a resource to the media – editors, journalists, and broadcast reporters who find themselves in need of expertise and a balanced view of what can at times become polarizing issues.
We welcome your interest, and we thank you for visiting our media portal. What follows here is additional background on MSMR, along with informational links you may find helpful.
Who We Are – History and Members
The Society began in 1953 and was incorporated in 1982 as a Massachusetts non-profit. We were granted federal tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit status the same year. Our membership now includes research hospitals and institutes, colleges and universities, professional societies, biotechnical and pharmaceutical firms, and organizations that support biomedical research as vendors or suppliers. Membership is not limited to Massachusetts: we represent organizations in throughout New England. About one-third of our support comes from foundation grants.
The Society is guided by an elected Board of Directors comprising physicians, veterinarians, research scientists and administrators, business people and community members.
What We Stand For
The use of animals in biomedical research is essential to both basic science and the translation of science discoveries to new medicines, medical procedures and devices. Good science depends upon good animal care. Thus, there must be a commitment to ethical and humane animal use. Animal research is heavily regulated at the Federal level. There are also state and even municipal laws affecting research animals. In addition to adhering to all regulations and laws, MSMR members support a practice called The 3 Rs (Reduce, Refine and Replace) which seeks alternatives to animals when available and validated, and which also seeks strategies for lessening animal use and for refining procedures so as to minimize discomfort to research animals.
MSMR’s Board and members have adopted carefully reasoned positions. For example, we believe in specimen dissection as part of high school biology training. MSMR supports appropriate animal research by makers of medical devices, and we believe that the same standards of care that apply to other vertebrate animals should apply to rats, mice and birds.
Services to the Media
We are available for comment on topics of importance to our members and for background. We will also work with our members to find experts for comment to the media. We also periodically write letters to editors on topics affecting our membership.
We provide, on this website, a very complete set of links, allowing reporters and journalists ready access to well-catalogued information about biomedical research, regulation and oversight, science education and bioethics.
Services to the Research Community
As a member organization, we focus on services to members and on outreach that will benefit biomedical research generally.
In animal research, an oversight committee, usually called the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), has primary responsibility for the care and husbandry of research animals, the specific protocols concerning those animals, and the facilities and caretakers for the animals. MSMR offers professional development workshops to IACUCs on a variety of topics that will make them more effective in their duty.
Ultimate responsibility for the research animals within each organization falls to the Institutional Official (IO). MSMR periodically offers training to senior officials on personnel and plant security, risk management, on working with the media, and on preparing for noteworthy events.
We track state legislation across New England that may affect our members and notify members of such legislation and their opportunity to comment pro or con.
Services to Educators
Teachers and students come to us for grade-appropriate educational materials about life science, and particularly animals in research. We also bring expert speakers to classrooms, help arrange field trips, and conduct two annual student competitions on topics relating to biomedical research. Because of our deep connections to the research community, we can also provide career day speakers to high schools.
Please contact us at any time by e-mailing MediaConnection@MSMR.org or calling us at 978.251.1556.
Alan Dittrich, President