Is the American College of Zoological Medicine a school or institution of higher learning?
The American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM) is an organization of veterinarians certified in zoological medicine. This ''College'' is not an actual university or physical location, but an accredited board of individuals called specialists. These specialists are also called ''diplomates''. This board, or college is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and must maintain the highest standards of training and certification for veterinarians practicing zoological medicine.
What is a veterinary specialist?
Veterinarians may choose to limit their scope of practice to one species or discipline such as surgery or ophthalmology, or in this case, zoological medicine. A veterinary specialist, as recognized by the AVMA, is a graduate veterinarian who has successfully completed the process of board certification in an AVMA specialty board or college. To become board certified, a veterinarian must have extensive post-graduate training and experience, and pass a credential review and examinations set by the given specialty group. At present, there are 20 recognized specialty boards.
How do I become a specialist in zoological medicine (Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine)?
After a person graduates from college (4 years), then veterinary school (4 years), and obtains veterinary licensure, he/she usually completes a 1 year internship (e.g.,small or large animal medicine and surgery, zoological medicine). The person then serves a 3-4 year residency in zoological medicine in a training program approved by ACZM under the teachings and guidance of ACZM diplomates. If a person did not complete an ACZM-approved formal training program, he/she must have at least 6 years of experience (100%) in zoological medicine. Once the residency or sufficient experience is completed the board certification process begins first with a credentials package consisting of an application, resume, 3 discipline relevant peer-reviewed publications, and letters of recommendation. If the credentials are accepted by the ACZM credentials committee, the applicant is allowed to take the ACZM board examination. The exam is a two day process consisting of written and practical parts. Finally, after passing all of the above criteria, the veterinarian is recognized as a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine, or in short, board certified in zoological medicine (See Credentialing and Examination).
What do ACZM Diplomates do?
ACZM Diplomates serve in responsible positions as zoo and wildlife veterinarians, teachers, researchers, government officials, and administrators of other relevant programs fostering high quality medical care for non-domestic animals and are actively involved in the discovery of new knowledge in the discipline and the dissemination of this knowledge to the veterinary profession and public. Diplomates are engaged in the education of undergraduate and graduate veterinarians at a variety of local, state, provincial, national, and international venues and stress the importance of offering medical care to all animals. ACZM Diplomates serve as supervisors of training programs and mentors for veterinarians seeking advanced studies in zoological medicine. Diplomates are actively involved in clinical and basic research to improve the quality of medical care offered non-domestic animals and are actively involved in the preservation of vanishing species through captive propagation programs, careful management of free-ranging populations, and national and international conservation programs.
What is zoological medicine?
ACZM has defined zoological medicine as a discipline that integrates principles of ecology, conservation, and veterinary medicine and applies them to wild animals within natural and artificial environments. The discipline of zoological medicine has gained tremendous momentum during the last two decades. The popularity of zoos and aquariums, efforts to maintain populations of free-living wildlife, and the emergence of birds, reptiles, fish, and other non-domestic animals as popular pets has challenged veterinarians to provide appropriate medical care to insure the well-being of these animals. Zoological medicine encompasses a wide variety of traditional veterinary disciplines which by necessity have been adapted to accommodate the diversity of species treated. These include herd health management, preventive medicine, epidemiology, comparative medicine, and the highly personalized, intensive medical care offered companion animals.