Residency Program

Potter Park Zoo, Toledo Zoo, Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health’s residency program is a three year training program, meeting the criteria of the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM).  This program provides the resident with medical exposure to captive wildlife at Potter Park Zoo and Toledo Zoo, wildlife and exotic pet medicine with the MSU CVM, free-ranging wildlife with the DNR, and exposure to necropsy and histopathology with DCPAH.  The primary objective of this program is to train post-graduate veterinarians in the specialty of Zoological Medicine with exposure to wildlife medicine and pathology as well.  Further, the residency intents to meet or exceed the standards established by the American College of Zoological Medicine.  This program is offered every three years.

Major Objectives:

  • Preparation of candidates for a career in zoological or wildlife medicine.  Candidate should have the ability to sit for the American College of Zoological Medicine examination within 2 years of program completion.
  • Development of skills necessary for independent clinical management of zoo, exotic pet, or wildlife species.
  • Development of refinement of communication and presentation skills to zoo staff, professional colleagues and program mentors,
  • Familiarization with the biological and physiological characteristics of zoo, exotic and wildlife species.
  • Familiarization with the disciplines essential to practicing zoological medicine, including nutrition, comparative pathology, comparative histology, epidemiology, captive animal husbandry, behavior, toxicology, and exhibit design.
  • Comprehensive understanding and adherence to laws/regulations governing care and shipment of zoo species.
  • Knowledge of the zoo and wildlife medical literature.
  • Design and completion of investigative research, followed by dissemination of findings in peer-reviewed literature.
  • Development and application of appropriate and practical preventive medicine protocols in captive zoo animals and exotic pets.

Additionally, residents will have the opportunity to gain experience at the Kellogg Biological Sanctuary, Binder Park Zoo , Detroit Zoo and John Ball Zoo.  The resident is also encouraged to complete a fish medicine course during the program. 


Tara M. Harrison, DVM, MPVM, Dipl. ACZM
Potter Park Zoo
1301 South Pennsylvania
Lansing, MI 48912