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Review of the U.S. Naval Medical Research Institute's Toxicology Program 1 Introduction Because of budget reductions, the U.S. Navy, as well as other parts of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), will be reducing in size during the next several years. The reductions will influence the various research programs conducted and sponsored by the armed services. Therefore, the Naval Medical Research and Development Command is conducting a strategic planning effort to determine the best approach to support the health-related research needs of the Navy and Marine Corps. Among the many decisions to be made are those concerning the amount and type of toxicological research to be conducted to support the Navy's operational requirements. After evaluating the Navy's current toxicology research program, the Naval Medical Research Institute's Toxicology Detachment (NMRITD) began to prepare a “Ten-Year Strategic Plan” for the future direction of the Navy's program. This plan was intended to maintain scientific credibility in the field of toxicology and to be responsive to the Navy's requirements as they arise. Before proceeding with developing a formal strategic plan and committing to significant changes in its toxicology program, however, the Navy believes that a critical review of current activities and future plans for the Navy's toxicology program will be useful. Therefore, the Navy requested that the National Research Council (NRC) evaluate NMRITD's current toxicology program and identify its strengths and weaknesses, review its preliminary Ten-Year Strategic Plan and determine its appropriateness, and make recommendations for
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Review of the U.S. Naval Medical Research Institute's Toxicology Program their improvement. The Navy asked that NRC evaluate the Navy's current toxicology program for the following: (1) Is the Navy getting the appropriate science to meet its needs? (2) Is current research effectively addressing actual problems? (3) Is there a proper balance between basic and applied research? (4) What constraints on executing the scientific program are imposed by the current staffing and facilities? For the future direction of the Navy's toxicology program, the Navy asked NRC to consider the following questions: (1) Does NMRITD's Ten-Year Strategic Plan incorporate good scientific concepts? (2) Does it address Navy-specific needs? (3) What changes to the plan would improve the science? (4) What role should basic research play in the overall toxicology program to be executed at NMRITD, as compared with the current emphasis on applied research? (5) What should be the balance between toxicological research and toxicity characterization? (6) Is there a need for a formal means to periodically evaluate the plan and its progress? (7) If so, what means should be used and how frequently should it be done? Other related issues to be evaluated were the following: (1) What degree of toxicological expertise is required in the development of health-hazard evaluations and risk assessments, and what type of role is implied for the Navy's sole toxicological research laboratory? (2) How can the scientific currency and growth of the military and civilian staff be ensured? (3) Does the coordination of research with the U.S. Air Force toxicology laboratory result in significant scientific benefit? How should coordination be improved? (4) Does the use of the on-site contractor significantly benefit the Navy 's program? How should this relationship be improved? (5) What relationships should be formed with other DOD sources of expertise? (6) What role should external contracts play in an expanded Navy toxicology program? In response to the Navy's request, NRC established the Subcommittee to Review the U.S. Naval Medical Research Institute's Toxicology Program. The subcommittee reviewed the current toxicology program of NMRITD and its preliminary Ten-Year Strategic Plan by visiting NMRITD's laboratories, hearing presentations by scientists at NMRITD, and deliberating at subcommittee meetings. Based on these reviews, the subcommittee identified deficiencies in the toxicology program and made recommendations for improvements. Chapter 2 describes the history of
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Review of the U.S. Naval Medical Research Institute's Toxicology Program the naval medical research toxicology program; Chapter 3 presents an evaluation of the Naval Medical Research Institute's current toxicology program; Chapter 4 provides an evaluation of NMRITD's preliminary Ten-Year Strategic Plan; and Chapter 5 provides an evaluation of other issues related to improving the toxicology program.
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Review of the U.S. Naval Medical Research Institute's Toxicology Program This page in the original is blank.
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