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History of the Organization 

      Founded in 1960, the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians is an organization dedicated to improving the health care, well being, and the conservation of captive and free-ranging wildlife. 

      Today, the organization has over 900 members, a premier professional journal (Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine) and annual conference and enjoys close working relationships with the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians, American Veterinary Medical Association, and American Zoo and Aquarium Association. 

Purpose of the Strategic Plan 

      All highly professional organizations are future seeking and work to establish a vision and course that will allow them to excel in meeting their mission and the expectations of their members. 

      This version of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Strategic Plan projects a vision to what the Association sees itself to be in the year 2020. It also identifies the areas of strategic importance to achieving that vision, defines goals to be pursued over the next five years, and identifies specific performance objectives to be accomplished in the furtherance of these goals over the next two years. 

American Association of Zoo Veterinarians 


      The mission of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians is to optimize the health, welfare, and conservation of wildlife through education, scientific study, collaboration and advocacy. 


      In the year 2020 AAZV: 

    • is the umbrella organization that works to bring all professional organizations dedicated to the health, welfare and conservation of wildlife together to advocate for and advance their combined efforts for sustaining and improving the well-being of wildlife in all habitats,
    • collaborates with other scientists and veterinarians world wide,
    • promotes and uses science-based veterinary medicine through research, education, the active dissemination of information and partnering with other associations and institutions,
    • is a leading resource offering expertise in health and welfare of wildlife,
    • is an influential contributor to the development of policies that affect the health, welfare and conservation of wildlife,
    • funds scientific research essential to fulfilling its vision,
    • is a leader in fostering the positive relationship among humans, wildlife and their shared environment,
    • offers premier education, outreach and advocacy resources and efforts through:
      • a preeminent journal
      • an annual International Conference
      • dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge in the field of zoological medicine/health,
    • promotes and participates in strategic alliances with other organizations dedicated to the health, welfare, and well being of wildlife.



Strategic Focus Areas 

      Any organization must concentrate its focus, energy and critical resources on those areas that are of predominant strategic importance to its success in fulfilling its mission and achieving its vision for the future. These Strategic Focus Areas typically are few in number but they are precursors to the goals, strategies and targeted performance results the organization must pursue and achieve through strong leadership commitment and managerial excellence. 

      The Strategic Focus Areas for AAZV in its progress toward 2020 are: 

    • Sustainability
    • Advocacy
    • Education
    • Research and Conservation
    • Global Partnership

      For each of these Strategic Focus Areas, the five-year goals and two-year performance objectives to be achieved in pursuit of each goal are listed on the next pages. 


Goals and Objectives 

1. Development Goal - Create a staff-driven development program that generates  non-dues funds to provide financial support for expanded programs. 


a.   Write a job description for a Development Director and assign a budget for that  person  to operate. 

b. Hire a Development Director. 

c. Raise sufficient funds to equal the annual expense of the Development Director’s  salary and program by the end of three years employment.  

d. Develop a method of evaluating the Development Director’s performance. 

2. Relationship Building Goal - Establish a working relationship with at least four  compatible organizations that are capable of collaborative funding. 


a. The Executive Committee will explore the feasibility of developing a mutually  beneficial relationship with compatible organizations such as ARAV, IAAAM,  and WDA. This may or may not include memoranda of understanding.  If it is  determined that it is mutually beneficial, implement a plan to enact this action. 

b. The Executive Committee will explore the feasibility of sharing a development  position with like-minded organizations, such as AAWV, ARAV, IAAAM, and  WDA.  If it is determined that it is mutually beneficial, implement a plan to enact  this action. 

3. Expansion of Membership Goal - Expand and diversify membership. 


a. Have the Member Services Committee develop and execute a time-sensitive  expansion plan that increases and diversifies membership, including but not  limited to private practitioners, students, non-American veterinarians, and others. 

4. Enhance the Value of Membership Goal - Develop and implement a process  that will continually evaluate and identify opportunities for enhancing  membership value.


a. Develop a membership evaluation survey, which should be updated and  administered on at least an every-other-year basis. 

b. Develop and implement a telephone exit survey to contact members who have not  renewed their membership 6 months after expiration. 

c. Report to the Board at least annually with recommended changes based on  membership and exit surveys. 

    d. Membership Services Committee to explore partnerships that will provide enhanced membership value to the members, such as on-line library access. 

e. Create a Newsletter Editor Position and reinstitute the newsletter in an electronic  form in order to better connect and distribute information to the membership. 

5. Governance Goal - Maximize the intergenerational integrity of the association. 


a. At mid-year meeting 2010, have a special session of the Executive Committee to  explore whether changes in governance are needed for improved intergenerational  integrity and other needs. 

b. By annual meeting 2009, have all Committee Chairs write complete job  descriptions and have these reviewed and evaluated by the Executive Committee. 

c. By annual meeting 2010, have each Committee Chair and each Executive Board  member develop a procedural manual; for each committee this should include a  purpose statement and mechanisms for periodic assessment of the committee. 

6. Human Resources Goal -  Secure the human resources that will be required in  order to achieve the goals of the association. 


a. By annual meeting 2009, the Executive Committee develops a 10-year roadmap to secure the human resources that will be required in order to achieve the goals of the Association.



Goals and Objectives 

1. Policy Development Goals: 

    • Establish the Association  as a recognized authority on the health and welfare of captive and free-ranging wildlife.
    • Establish a process for solicitation of issues/concerns from the membership.
    • Adopt a prioritized list of issues for which AAZV may generate policy position statements.


    a. Place a page on the member’s only section of the website for comments on positions, concerns, and issues from members including due date if necessary. 

    b. Issues that are generated from the website should be  reviewed by the LAW Committee. 

    c. Institute a quarterly newsletter to communicate to the membership and use this forum to distribute draft position statements for comments. 

d. Develop a one page description of AAZV’s experience and expertise to send to  stakeholders (AVMA, AZA, AAWV and others) 

e. Develop a procedures manual for Committees to identify duties relative to the  above. 

f. Adopt a prioritized list of issues that may generate policy position statements. 

g. Develop specific position statements on at least two issues by midyear 2010. 

2. Regulatory Response Goal - influence emerging regulatory issues of concern to  AAZV and other veterinary organizations dealing with wildlife. 


a. Partner with other veterinary organizations. 

b. Respond in a timely fashion to emerging regulatory issues of concern to AAZV’s  membership and partners. 

3. Issue-Based Alliances Goal – create alliances to influence the policies of  government and other agencies pertaining to the health, welfare and conservation  of wildlife. 


a. Identify AAZV as a proactive advocacy group through one page position  statements and demonstrated response to issues. 

b. Identify potential stakeholders during the position development and engage in  dialogue regarding proposed policy. 

c. Support AAZV’s Executive Director or other designee to attend meetings of  selected organizations. 

4. Marketing and Public Relations Goal – publicize and market a strong “brand”  for AAZV, positioning it as a leading resource for expertise in the health and  welfare of wildlife. 


a. Publicize the mission of AAZV. 

b. Explore changing the name of AAZV to the Association of Zoological Health  (AZH). 

c. Explore renaming the Journal to Zoological Medicine. 

d. Brand and promote AAZV as a leading resource for expertise in matters  pertaining to the health and welfare of wildlife.  Foster a positive relationship  among humans, wildlife and their shared environment, with attention to emerging  and zoonotic diseases. 

e. Identify characteristics of AAZV members for the development of the brand. 

e. Offer this brand to our own institutions to help publicize the work of individual  veterinarians. 


Goals and Objectives 

1. Education Goal – Continually advance and improve the quality of zoological  medicine worldwide 


    a. By annual meeting 2009, have the Information Resources Committee work with the Editorial Board and submit a report on options for financially solvent ways of electronically distributing the journal to reach a wider global audience. 

b. By annual meeting 2009, have the Editorial Board and the International  Committee work together to develop a well-defined mechanism for timely  resolution of language or translation issues for international submissions. 

    c. By annual meeting 2009, have the Journal Editor and the Editorial Board identify a biostatistician who is available for manuscript review and have funds be made available for these services. 

d. By annual meeting 2010, have the Information Resources Committee and the  Education Committee develop a financially sound plan for providing online  presentation of Conference and other educational content. 

e. By annual meeting 2009, have the Education Committee develop a mechanism to  respond to requests for training and education. 

2. Education Goal – Increase the public understanding of issues important to  zoological medicine and wildlife health. 


a. By annual meeting 2009, develop and make budgetary funds available for a  public content section of the website that informs and compels the public about  select issues in wildlife health. 

b. By annual meeting 2010, explore the feasibility of partnering with other  organizations participating in public service announcements in order to distribute  educational content. 


Goals and Objectives 

1. Research Goal – Support targeted research initiatives. 


a. Establish a research fund and hire development staff person(s). 

b. Establish a Research committee that: 

      (1) establishes an Advisory Committee/Review Board that 

            (a) creates a mechanism/format for review of research proposals. 

            (b) has diversification of members  

        • Including members outside AAZV to avoid conflict of interest
        • fair and equitable topics/award

      (c) Partner with other organizations for presenting workshops on grant  writing, research investigations, etc. 

    c. Create a clearing house website/link for projects, membership expertise, etc. Requests should be approved in context of missions/vision by the Awards & Grants Committee  (possibly partner with biomaterials banking group of AZA). 

2. Conservation Goal – Enhance the Association’s role and capacity in  conservation. 


    a. Establish a clearing house website/link for sample requests, projects, membership expertise, that is approved in context of mission/vision by the Awards & Grants Committee.  (Partner with biomaterials banking group of AZA). 

b. Promote individual achievements – photos, etc. (AZV website, Facebook, You- tube, Twitter). 

c. Continue to promote conservation topics at Annual Conference (North American  Wildlife, TWS, etc.). 

d. Link to other organizations/specific individuals (TWS, biologists, IUCN, etc.). 

    • Offer editorial services, and encourage members to submit to other “conservation-based journals”.

e. Provide sustainable assistance for veterinarians outside the U.S. (links, training  group, etc.) through: 

    • Liaison and providing assistance to similar groups-find out needs, etc.
    • Training
    • Publications access.



    Goals and Objectives 

1. Goal – Strengthen current alliances with EAZWV, AZA, AAWV, ACZM 

Objective. Discuss goals with officers of each of the following organizations: 

a. AAWV 

      (1) Renew MOA

            (a) Joint research (AZCM)/grants/funding

            (b) Joint advocacy

            (c) Mutual promotion. 

b. ACZM 

      (1) Journal sponsorship

      (2) Journal editorship

      (3) Expand joint activities. 

c. AZA 

      (1) Complete MOA

      (2) Continue AAZV IDC representation on Animal health committee

      (3) Secure representation on the Animal Welfare and Legislative Committees    of AZA

      (4) Invite AZA sessions to AAZV Conference 


      (1) Renew MOA

      (2) Increase journal participation

      (3) Joint conference (Europe)

      (4) Joint advocacy 

2. Goal – Create alliances with AVMA, IAAAM, WDA, WAZA 


a. AVMA 

      (1) Obtain a seat on the house of AVMA delegates and/or Advisory Panel of    the House of Delegates. 

      (2) Seek additional committee involvement. 

b. WDA 

      (1) Establish a leadership meeting – research committee.

      (2) Establish a joint conference – equality

            (a) Joint session sponsored by WDA. 


      (1) Draft an MOA.

      (2) Pursue joint advocacy/position statements.

      (3) Identify common goals and interests. 

d. WAZA 

      (1) Establish a leadership meeting. 

3. Goal – Build bridges with the following organizations. 

a. Practitioner organizations 

      (1) ARAV

      (2) AAV

      (3) AEMV 

b. Other wildlife organizations 

      (1) TWS (The Wildlife Society) 

      • Sponsor session
      • AAZV poster
      • Exhibitor
      • Leadership meeting

      (2) SCB (Society of Conservation Biology) 

      • Leadership meeting
      • Meeting participant.

4. Goal – Identify other organizations which may help our mission through  partnerships and alliances. 

5. Goal – Participate in decision making processes regarding health and disease  issues with: 

a. USDA – Monitor and respond-invite speaker, regular contact/establish structure  to monitor/optimize working relationship with AZA legislative affairs officer. 

b. CDC – Representative/routine contact. 

c. OIE – Representative 

d. WHO – Connect with “One health initiative” 

e. FDA 

f. IUCN/CBSG – Representative 

g. USFWS – Monitor and respond/AZA 

h. HSUS 

i. NMFS – Contact through IAAAM 

j. UNFAO – hold. 

6. Goal – Pursue partnerships with international NGOs, other ZWV, Conservation  Medicine Consortium, Infectious Disease Ecology Group, PAAZB such as joint  informational letters and topical journal articles. 

How we will use the Strategic Plan and measure our progress            

    "The Strategic Plan will be revisited annually at the Midyear Executive Committee meeting during a full day session.  Goals and timelines will be reviewed by the Executive Committee, and goals that have been met will be removed.  Timelines may be adjusted, however no substantial changes will be made to the plan by the Executive Committee.              

    At least every three years, the Association will assemble a Strategic Planning Retreat, involving approximately 15 members of the Association.  The Retreat will be facilitated and will reassess the entire Strategic Plan."


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