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OUHSC to Wind Down Baboon Program Over 3-4 Years

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - Campus News -

OKLAHOMA CITY – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced today that the OU Health Sciences Center would wind down operations of its Baboon Program over the next 3 to 4 years, resulting in an end to the program. OU Health Sciences Center leadership has begun to work with the funding agency, the National Institutes of Health, on a transition plan and will not seek to renew NIH grants to continue operating the program.

After completing an internal review of the Baboon Program in coordination with leadership at the Health Sciences Center, President Boren reached this decision based on the decreased prioritization of the program within the OU Health Sciences Center's research strategic plan and the projected financial and staff time costs of continuing to operate the program. Driving this decision is the goal of the University to carefully prioritize and assign limited funds to mission critical research endeavors.

"The OU Health Sciences Center is working closely with the NIH, researchers and other stakeholders on a transition plan that will honor its existing contractual obligations to ensure that current biomedical research projects are completed with the least possible disruption," said James J. Tomasek, Vice President for Research at the Health Sciences Center.

Tomasek expressed appreciation to the National Institutes of Health for their support of the Baboon Program at OU, noting that such programs have enabled medical advances to alleviate human disease and suffering, such as vaccine development for infectious diseases.

The University is committed to treating baboons humanely and with a high level of care throughout the transition to ensure that baboons will not be adversely affected by these changes.

The wind down will ensure that the University's dedicated faculty, staff, and collaborators will have sufficient time for an orderly transition. The OU Health Sciences Center is also implementing a comprehensive plan to support faculty and staff during this transition period.

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