It feels like yesterday that I was asked to write the President’s message for the 2016 ACZM newsletter. Somehow it became 2017 and again I have been asked to draft my second and final President’s message. As I write, I think about what the ACZM might accomplish in 2017 and some of the challenges, and opportunities, we face. I also find myself thinking back over the history of the ACZM since its beginning in 1983.
During the past 34 years, our membership has become more diverse, holding positions across the field of zoological medicine. Diplomates work in private practice, academia, zoos and aquariums, governmental and non-governmental organizations. And, we live and work in countries throughout the world. We care for people’s pets, zoo collection animals and free-living populations; with many of us dedicated to teaching the next generation of zoological animal health care providers. No matter which zoological path we may currently be on, it is important that the College’s mission guides our work. The American College of Zoological Medicine is dedicated to excellence in furthering the health and well-being of captive and free-ranging wild animals. Sounds good to me.
Our diversity is also related to the simple fact that we have grown significantly in recent years. In 2016 we reached 204 diplomates with 17 new members. I won’t go over all the accolades of the newest members since Drs. Keller and Desmarchelier have done such an excellent job sharing their stories in the link below. I hope you find them as inspirational as I do; and since we can all use a little inspiration during this time of world turmoil, please take a few minutes to learn more about them. As for other accomplishments, I extend a heartfelt congratulation to three of my personal heroes/heroines: Dr. Michael Stoskopf, awarded the AAZV Lifetime Achievement Award; Dr. Terry Norton, awarded the AAZV Emil Dolensik Award; and Dr. Kay Mehren who AZCM presented with the Murray Fowler Life Time Achievement Award. Congratulations to all of you, and to all 17 new diplomates.
The growth of our College is wonderful, but also I find just a little daunting. For example, we must look at how to best incorporate the extensive zoological medicine knowledge base into valid questions that fairly challenge both future and current members. As we consider this, we have the opportunity to have the ACZM examination undertake a professional validation. We will start this process in the first ½ of 2017.
At this time of great opportunity for ACZM (and some challenges) as we extend our reach across the zoological animal—wildlife—public health—ecosystem health continuum, I look forward to serving the College during my final year as President. I hope each of you has a successful and enjoyable year and that I see many of you at the 2017 annual business meeting this September in Texas.
Sharon L. Deem, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACZM