The USGS National Wildlife Health Center: Past, Present, and Future
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012
Jonathan Sleeman1, MA, VetMB, DACZM, DECZM, MRCVS; Clayton D. Hilton2, MS, DVM
1USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, WI, USA; 2Birmingham Zoo, Inc., Birmingham, AL, USA


The National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is a science center of the Department of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and was established in 1975 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. The current mission is to provide national leadership to safeguard wildlife and ecosystem health through dynamic partnerships and exceptional science. The NWHC fulfills its mission by conducting an integrated program of research, diagnostics, epidemiologic surveillance, technical assistance, training, information management, and communication on wildlife disease and health issues to wildlife and natural resource managers, decision- and policy-makers, other scientists, and the public. The NWHC is certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work with disease agents at Biological Safety Level 3. The NWHC also operates the Honolulu Field Station (HFS), located in Honolulu, Hawaii, that carries out the mission of the NWHC and serves the state of Hawaii and U.S. territories and freely associated states in the Pacific region. Current research focuses on diseases such as white nose syndrome, avian influenza, sylvatic plague, chronic wasting disease, West Nile virus, amphibian diseases, coral and sea turtle diseases, among other wildlife health issues. The NWHC has embarked upon an ambitious new strategic plan with a focus on three goals:

1.  Serving as a catalyst to establish a collaborative North American Wildlife Health Strategy that creates an operational framework to address the most pressing wildlife health issues. This strategy will emphasize the importance of a collaborative approach to mitigate the impact of wildlife diseases and other stressors on wildlife, domestic animal, and human health.

2.  Providing nationally comprehensive wildlife health information based on collective knowledge and making this information available to a broad audience of professionals, general public, media, and decision makers.

3.  Conducting exceptional science to anticipate, detect, and assess wildlife diseases and support the management of wildlife and ecosystem health.


Speaker Information
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Clayton D. Hilton, MS, DVM
Birmingham Zoo, Inc.
Birmingham, AL, USA

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