Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD) is an international outreach program through Americans for Medical Progress that seeks to increase public awareness about animal roles in biomedical research and the resulting medical advancements that benefit both humans and animals. BRAD highlights the importance of animal studies and research organizations’ commitment to providing excellent animal care. It also builds a research advocate community and showcases biomedical research and laboratory animal care and medicine careers. Since its April 2016 inaugural celebration, BRAD participation has skyrocketed from 20 events in the United States to over 200 celebrations annually around the world. Beyond educating the public, BRAD can increase community engagement, unite an institution’s research community, boost employee morale, and allow individuals to discuss their biomedical research roles.
Biomedical Research Awareness Day is typically celebrated on the third Thursday in April. However, due to the pandemic, BRAD 2021 will be celebrated on September 16th, 2021. Institutions around the world are hosting in-person or virtual events and will tune in to the BRAD Webinar, sponsored by Tecniplast. This year, Margaux Kenwood, PhD, will present her research focused on childhood anxiety and associated changes in the brain using a nonhuman primate animal model. Her talk will explore how different animal models can help us pave the way for better psychiatric interventions. The webinar is free—register at this link. Despite the pandemic, BRAD continues to gain momentum and serve as a robust and established platform for educating the public on the necessity of animals in biomedical research.
How you choose to celebrate Biomedical Research Awareness Day is up to you! The BRAD team will work directly with your institution to tailor the event to your audience and support you with planning, materials, and any other logistics. The day (or several days) can be as simple as a table with information on animals in biomedical research or full of activities, seminars, and tours. You can even move the date to work around activities happening at your institution.
Another way to get involved is through the BRAD Regional Champion Program. This is for exceptional individuals seeking to advance animal research education. Created in 2019 with three Champions in the pilot program, there are now 11 Champions throughout the US and Canada. In addition to organizing events at their own institution, BRAD Regional Champions are responsible for contacting other institutions, organizations, and businesses to share information about BRAD. Champions also serve as a regional BRAD consultant to assist others in hosting events. Those who are interested in becoming a BRAD Regional Champion can email BRAD@amprogress.org.
Biomedical Research Awareness Day continues to build a unified foundation of research advocates throughout the country and around the globe. Visit BRADglobal.org or contact BRAD@amprogress.org to learn more and to join the celebration!
By Logan France, DVM, DACLAM, BRAD Program Director for Americans for Medical Progress.