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Welcome to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Quality Improvement Program!

Specialists with the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Aquatic Animal Health Program (FWS-AAHP) are committed to maintaining of scientific excellence through work in the Quality Improvement Program. We have accomplished much in the past decade through Standardized Procedures, Quality Improvement Studies, and expanded laboratory capabilities. Together with our partners, we continue to provide state-of-the-art aquatic animal health services that protect and enhance the health of aquatic animal resources for future generations.

The following describes common elements of QA/QC, what constitutes a comprehensive QI Program, and the overall program goals of the FWS Aquatic Animal Health QI Program.

Critical to Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) programs is the inclusion of performance measures that ensure accurate and reliable data and test results. The primary areas of focus for the FWS Aquatic Animal Health QI Program will include:

  • Standardization - Use of valid and approved methods to be applied uniformly and consistently (standard operating procedures, or SOP), including standardized reagents and control references.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring test results for accuracy, and documentation of assay performance over time.
  • Implementation - Initiating improvements or corrective actions for SOP to maintain accuracy in both how tests are conducted and their results.

A comprehensive Quality Improvement (QI) program includes the traditional aspects of QA/QC described above, while simultaneously promoting proactive and dynamic approaches to ensure the program is continually improving and evolving. This is very important considering the rapid technological advancements in molecular biology and our expanding understanding of how many related disciplines overlap with aquatic animal health. The vigilance promoted in our dynamic QI program demonstrates commitment to effective and proficient disease detection and management, and to continual development of improved methodologies that broaden the understanding of aquatic animal health.

To accomplish these goals, the FWS-AAH QI program conducts Quality Improvement Studies to:

  • Optimize and validate aquatic animal health diagnostic and monitoring methods
  • "Field test" newly emerging technologies along side traditional, or gold standard methods
  • Conduct applied research in disease susceptibility, immunology, and physiology

Our dynamic approach to QA/QC actively promotes collaboration with professional organizations and academia, assists our partners in meeting their changing program needs, and ensures continued excellence in the science generated in the field of aquatic animal health.

The FWS-AAHP will evolve rapidly over the next decade. Our Quality Improvement program will be there every step of the way to promote excellence in science by concentrating on the following key elements of Quality Improvement:

  • Collaboration with aquatic animal health professionals, building strong partnerships in developing comprehensive policy and procedure to ensure protection of aquatic natural resources.
  • Promoting best science practices in aquatic animal health through applied research.
  • Expand our knowledge and expertise in aquatic animal health to include assemblages of aquatic species, including amphibians and shellfish.
  • Conduct laboratory Ring Testing and External Reviews to document the consistency and proficiency of our test results, and demonstrate the scientific credibility of the FWS Fish Health Centers.
  • Prioritize and develop Standardized Control Reagents for aquatic animal health communities to promote inter-laboratory proficiency and national standardization.

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