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Zoological Medicine Residency Program

Program Description

The Saint Louis Zoo Department of Animal Health offers an intensive 3-year clinical residency in zoological medicine designed to develop a Board Certified Specialist in Zoological MedicineTM. The program is compliant with requirements set forth by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM) for training programs and emphasizes all aspects of clinical zoological medicine and the development of a skilled, independently functioning zoological medicine clinician. In addition, significant program expectations include applied research, manuscript preparation, and credentialing and preparation for ACZM board certification. The resident’s clinical experience will be primarily through veterinary care of the Saint Louis Zoo’s extensive and diverse animal collection, including but not limited to, clinical medicine and diagnostic services, anesthesia, preventive medicine, surgical care, pathology, quarantine and pre-shipment evaluation, and training of veterinary students.


It is the objective of the program mentors to provide the facilities, case material, mentorship, and training opportunities necessary for the resident to become a Board Certified Specialist in Zoological MedicineTM. The Saint Louis Zoo Zoological Medicine Residency Program will endeavor to do so by prioritizing the following objectives:

  • Development of the comprehensive knowledge, skills, experience, and expertise necessary to function as an independent clinician in the field of zoological medicine.
  • Preparation of candidates for ACZM board certification.
  • Refinement of skills in applied research and presentation/manuscript preparation to contribute to the knowledge

    and understanding of medical care and conservation of zoological species.

  • Exposure to operations of a large zoological institution, including communication among veterinary and animal care

    managers and zoo staff, animal husbandry and management, nutrition, animal shipments, conservation issues, and

    laws/regulations concerning management of zoo animals and wildlife.

  • Exposure to teaching and clinical training of veterinary students through didactic lectures at the University of

    Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine and mentorship of students on clinical rotations at the Saint Louis Zoo.

The resident shares in the responsibility for and takes initiative in their professional growth and development into a competent zoological medicine practitioner, by actively participating in clinical service, scholarly activity, maintaining the highest professional conduct and ethics, and abiding by the mission, keys, and policies of the Saint Louis Zoo.


The primary training site of the residency program is the Saint Louis Zoo Forest Park Campus, which includes a 17,000- square-foot Endangered Species Research Center and Veterinary Hospital that hosts a central treatment area, research laboratories, animal wards and quarantine space, and administrative offices. The hospital exceeds standards described in the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Guidelines for Zoo Veterinary Medical Programs and Veterinary Hospitals. The Endangered Species Research Center and Veterinary Hospital houses the Department of Animal Health, as well as the Department of Research, which includes the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Reproductive Management Center. Clinical capabilities include treatment and surgery suites, advanced diagnostic imaging equipment (digital radiography, ultrasound), rigid and flexible endoscopy equipment, anesthesia equipment (portable and in-house), pharmacy, clinical pathology laboratory, necropsy area and anatomic pathology/tissue processing laboratory, and ultra-low freezers/tissue bank. The Department of Animal Health consists of the four attending veterinarians, five veterinary technicians, a staff pathologist, a quarantine manager, and an administrative assistant. Collaboration with the Institute for Conservation Medicine and the Animal Nutrition Department is also encouraged. In addition to the Forest Park campus, the Saint Louis Zoo is developing a new 425 acre North Campus, where the resident may have opportunity for clinical exposure as the animal collection there expands. The Saint Louis Zoo is a leader in animal care, conservation, research, and education, and is currently home to over 17,000 animals from more than 600 different species of mammals (marine and terrestrial), birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and a large collection of invertebrates. For more information, please visit

Beyond the Saint Louis Zoo’s campuses, the Department of Animal Health also provides veterinary support to the Endangered Wolf Center ( in Eureka, MO, which manages a variety of endangered canid species, and Lone Elk County Park (, in St. Louis County, which houses bison, elk, deer, and wild birds. The Department of Animal Health also actively collaborates with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Principia University, and the University of Missouri on local and regional conservation research efforts.

Organization and Schedule

The duration of the residency program is 3 years or 36 months, beginning and ending in August. One resident is selected for the program every three years. The resident will spend a minimum of 100 weeks participating in clinical and research activities under direct mentorship of ACZM Diplomates, including assuming primary clinical case responsibility. One day of each workweek is designated as the resident’s office/scholarship day for writing and studying. The program consists of approximately 70-75% clinical duties, 20-25% scholarly activities (research and board preparation), and 5-10% teaching. Additional opportunities offsite or in the field locally, nationally, or internationally for field research or to satisfy taxonomic or procedural deficits are possible and contingent on resident performance. Remaining time off, including vacation, holidays, and attendance at professional conferences and workshops, is arranged per the policies of the Department of Animal Health and the Saint Louis Zoo.

The Department of Animal Health maintains a comprehensive medical library and memberships to professional associations for access to the most up-to-date primary literature. In addition, the resident will have an adjunct appointment with the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine with access to university library services.

  • Program Leader/Contact
  • Supervising Diplomates
    • Chris Hanley, DVM, DACZM, Director of Animal Health
  • Associated Mentors
    • Mary Duncan, BVMS, PhD, DACVP, MRCVS, Staff Pathologist
    • Rachel Ferris, DVM, DACZM, Staff Veterinarian
    • Michael Warshaw, DVM, Staff Veterinarian

Deadline Fall 2023 (to start August 2024)

Applications for the residency program will be accepted during the application window here.