During the 1980’s ACLAM’s issues reflected the increasing maturity of the organization.  Major issues facing the credentialing process were the publication requirement and experience of candidates.  Publication requirement issues were not completely resolved and involved whether or not the publication had to be original research or if review articles or case reports could be accepted.   Also a matter of controversy was whether the applicant had to be first author or if second or later authorship was acceptable.  In 1989 PhD or MS degrees with experience as an option for qualifying for the certification exam was deleted.  This was in keeping with the Advisory Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) of the AVMA that there be one preferred and one alternate route to certification, i.e. training and experience or experience alone.

The certifying exam continued to consist of a written exam given in the morning and a practical exam given in the afternoon of the Sunday preceding the AVMA annual meeting.  Concern was expressed about the length of the exam and the number of questions on the written was reduced from 650 to 500.  The Board of Directors and Examination Committee continued to take steps to assure security and fairness of the exam.  In 1988 a Task Force was appointed to determine what defined a Diplomate, to profile the professional activities of Diplomates, and to define the degree and scope of their involvement.  The findings were to be used in exam development. 

Examination review by Diplomates continued in the 1980’s.  Starting in 1983 full review of the current exam was held at the AVMA meetings and a review of 10% of the questions at the AALAS meeting.  By 1988 a full exam review was again held at both the AVMA and AALAS meetings.

ACLAM continued to produce textbooks and audio-tutorial programs.  By 1983 all four volumes of the Mouse in Biomedical Research had been published.  Laboratory Animal Medicine, a general text on the field was published in 1987 and Laboratory Hamsters in 1987.  In 1988 a Task Force on updating the audio-tutorial materials was appointed.  In 1989 a grant was obtained from the National Agriculture Library to help defray the expenses involved in updating programs relating to species covered by the Animal Welfare Act.

Seven ACLAM Forums were held in the 1980’s.  The first, in 1980, on Animal Production was held immediately preceding the AALAS annual meeting.  The other Forms on Immunology, Biomedical Research, Emerging Technology in Laboratory Animal Medicine, Genetics, Animal Welfare, and Current Concepts in Laboratory Animal Medicine were free standing meetings.  The Current Concepts Forum in 1988 was the first that was open to non-Diplomates. 

In 1980 there was discussion of publishing an ACLAM sponsored Journal.  There were differing opinions about the desirability of such an undertaking and concerns about the financial feasibility.  In 1989 the Journal Planning Committee recommended a conjoint effort with AALAS to develop a first class journal be pursued.  Subsequently AALAS started publishing a journal on Comparative Medicine.

In 1980 and 1985 ACLAM submitted required five year reports to the AVMA’s Advisory Board on Veterinary Specialties (ABVS).  ACLAM continued to receive full recognition with some accolades.  The ABVS recommended that specialty boards have an appeal procedure and liability insurance.  ACLAM recommended Diplomates for appointment to AVMA’s Animal Welfare Advisory Panel and a planned panel on research animal surgery.

In 1981 there were several committees dealing with animal care issues.  One was the Adequate Veterinary Care Committee which was to define adequate veterinary care, define the role of the attending veterinarian in the animal care facility, and explore channels for communication with investigators. They considered ACLAM’s position on commonly used experimental procedures, reviewed administrative procedures for identifying veterinary care problems in animal facilities, and acted as a liaison with other groups concerned with animal welfare. In 1986 a final position paper: Report of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine on Adequate Veterinary Care was approved.  It was distributed to the membership, corresponding societies, Office for Protection from Research Risks/ National Institutes of Health (OPRR/NIH), American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and others requesting it.

The finances of the College were given more structure in the 1980’s. The general operating budget had suffered from deficit spending and policies were put into place to control spending.  Text royalty income was good, but these were restricted funds which according to IRS requirements for non-profit organizations could only be used for program service activities such as continuing education.  An endowment fund was established from royalty income, donations, interest and funds not required for general operating.  Expenditures from the fund would be used to subsidize certifying exam preparation, text preparation, the Newsletter, continuing education and educational speakers.

In 1984 the College initiated development of a Policy and Procedure Manual.  The Manual set forth various policies and guidelines of the College including guidelines for Committees.  The Manual was to be kept up-to-date.   

In 1989 Dr. Henry and Lois Foster established an endowed award (Foster Award) to recognize excellence in laboratory animal medicine. It was decided to give the award to the individual(s) receiving the highest grade on the written and practical exams.  The endowment would provide $1,000 per year.