Message from the VP of Research Compliance, Ara Tahmassian

Dear colleagues,

Tahmassian_0I am writing to inform you of changes in the research medical surveillance program that are being implemented in the occupational health office for research programs at Boston University. As our research programs have grown, so have the needs of the occupational health program for researchers. To respond to the growth, we are establishing a new comprehensive Research Occupational Health Program (ROHP).  This step  enhances the health and safety of our researchers which is one of our primary concerns and ensures that  occupational health is an integral part of our overall health and safety programs.

The ROHP will:

  • Provide comprehensive occupational health support for researchers based on the best practices from  peer institutions
  • Provide timely and efficient clearances for  new research staff as well as oversee and conduct appropriate  periodic reevaluations of research staff
  • Create a single point of contact for all needs for researchers with a 24/7 emergency on-call assistance program
  • Develop a comprehensive  matrix for the research community to identify the risks and requirements for working with various hazardous materials or agents
  • Provide Training related to materials being worked with.

The change becomes effective on February 5, 2010.

Who will provide the medical services?

ROHP will include a professional team of clinicians and nurse practitioners who will provide the medical services that are required. These services will continue to be provided confidentially as the current program does.

Who is covered?

There will be no change to the list of the individuals who are covered under the current research medical surveillance programs. This includes all individuals  involved in research that includes the uses of  hazardous materials and animals, covered by any protocol approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC); as well those engaged in support of such programs (e.g. Facilities,  Health and Safety, Public Safety staff) will be covered by the new ROHP.

Occupational Health services for all other employees will continue to be provided by the Occupational Health Services at the Charles River Campus and the Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) at the Boston University Medical Campus accordingly.

How and where will I receive the services?

The current requirements for the medical surveillance program will remain unchanged; based on the nature of the research, all covered individuals will be required to submit one or both of the following forms to ROHP for risk evaluation:

  • Animal Exposure Surveillance Program Medical Evaluation Form
  • Medical Surveillance Form

After the completion of the risk evaluation, ROHP will determine if you need to visit the ROHP clinical staff for an in-person evaluation an/or follow-up (e.g. if you are required to wear a respirator; require immunization or vaccination; etc.). ROHP staff will schedule an appointment for you to visit the clinic that is currently located on the 5th floor of the, Preston Building [Exam Room 6].

What do I have to do?

You do not need to do anything at this time.

Existing covered individuals: The ROHP staff will be reviewing the information for all employees who are currently engaged in, or supporting, research activities and will contact individuals for any additional information that is needed. You will still be required to complete the annual Risk Assessment Questionnaire and return it when notified by the Institutional Biosafety Committee or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

New covered individuals: If you are being added to an existing research protocol to the Institutional Biosafety Committee or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee by a Principal Investigator or are submitting a protocol to these Committees for the first time; you will be required to complete and submit one or both of the following forms to ROHP for risk evaluation:

  • Animal Exposure Surveillance Program Medical Evaluation Form
  • Medical Surveillance Form

The outcome of this risk evaluation will determine if there are additional requirements (Refer to  How and where will I receive the services? above)

Contact information

For additional information contact:

Institutional Biosafety Committee Office: 617-638-4263

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Office: 617-638-4263

ROHP clinical staff :

Dr. Thomas H. Winters, MD, FACOEM

E-mail: ROHP@bu.edu

Phone (available 24/7): 617-414-ROHP [617-414-7647]