The decade of the 1990’s saw the development and implementation of ACLAM’s first Strategic Plan.  Although described near the end of this section, it permeated almost every phase of ACLAM activities, from the certifying examination to the establishment of the Executive Director position. During this period, recertification became a reality, and the ACLAM Foundation was created to fund research specifically in the area of laboratory animal medicine.  ACLAM widened its influence with legislative bodies and the international community, extended its outreach to veterinary students and practitioners, and created a website.    

Early in the decade the Credentials Committee grappled with what constituted an acceptable publication.  Guidelines were somewhat subjective and in a state of flux. In 1999 the membership approved a By-Law change which stated “The candidate must have been the first author of an original article which demonstrates application of scientific method in the biological sciences (or in the physical or other scientific area, if relevant to laboratory animal medicine).  The article must have been published or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.”

The College moved to recognize training programs qualified to train individuals to sit for the certifying exam by the training program route.  In 1993 minimum standards for training programs were established.  Training program directors submitted voluntary self-assessments.  The Training Program Recognition Committee reviewed the assessments and make suggestions for improvements. Of 38 programs submitting assessments 34 met minimum standards. 

A Certification Process Task Force was appointed to review the entire certification process.  Among their recommendations was that the College determine the knowledge and skills, ranked by species and emphasis that the average Diplomate required.  This recommendation resulted in hiring a professional examination consultant to work with a focus group of about 25 Diplomates to develop a Role Delineation Document (RDD).  This document delineates the essential roles of laboratory animal veterinarians and describes the knowledge and skills required to carry them out.  It is being used as a basis to modify the credentials process and examination to assure their relevancy.

The number of candidates sitting for the examination continued to grow.  In the 1990’s typically there were 60-70 candidates each year.  It was ACLAM policy that a passing score of 66% correct was required.  In many years the Board of Directors lowered this percentage a point or two to the benefit of the candidates.  The exam committee worked hard to assure fair and unambiguous questions.  They determined that short answer questions were most likely to result in ambiguous answers and were difficult to grade.  As result the decision was made to move to an all multiple choice format for the written exam.

Prior to 1997 the exam had been held on the Sunday preceding and at the site of the AVMA annual meeting.  Sometimes the facilities and logistics were not conducive to the best exam environment.  Starting in 1997 the exam was held Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.  The ability to grade multiple choice questions on site was valuable and the statistics generated were helpful in establishing question quality.  The exam committee was pleased with this site.

ACLAM developed a recertification program which was implemented in 1996.  Recertification had been discussed for some years and was advocated by the ABVS/AVMA.  The ACLAM program is based on the accrual of points during an 8 year period. Points were awarded for scholarly activities such as publication, presentations, and teaching; professional development such as attendance at meetings, ACLAM Forums, and continuing education sessions; and service activities such as submission of exam questions, service on ACLAM committees and as elected officers, holding office in other laboratory animal medicine and science organizations and membership on national and international committees.  Diplomates submit recertification points on an annual basis and a computerized database assures uniform tracking.  The ACLAM Directory notes those members whose certification is current.

ACLAM continued to be an active producer of educational materials and programs in the 1990’s.  A position of Publications Chairman was established to enhance publication activities.  The Chair receives a stipend.  Textbooks The Drug Formulary for Laboratory Animals; Anesthesia and Analgesia in Laboratory Animals; The Biology of the Laboratory Rabbit, second edition; Non-human Primates in Biomedical Research:Biology and Management;  and Non-human Primates in Biomedical Research:Diseases were published.    The audio-tutorial programs continued to be updated.  Twenty-seven of the programs were converted to a CD-ROM format.  A total of seven ACLAM Forums were held.  Starting in 1996 Forums were held every year instead of every other year. There were ACLAM sponsored educational sessions at meetings of other scientific organizations.

Long range planning came to the fore in the 1990’s.  A consultant was engaged and working with a Committee a Strategic Plan was formulated.  Some of the aforementioned activities; the recertification program, the use of role delineation in exam development, training program recognition, enhancing continuing education and publications were given impetus by the Strategic Plan.  

To help with implementation of the Strategic Plan a part time paid position of Executive Director was established.  In addition to strategic plan initiatives the position included many of the former fiscal and record keeping duties of the Secretary-Treasurer.  Dr. Charles McPherson was appointed to this position in 1994.  He was succeeded by Dr. Melvin Balk in 1998.

Another initiative of the Strategic Plan was establishment of a Foundation to “increase the body of knowledge by identifying and supporting research in laboratory animal science and medicine.”  The Foundation Chair was to receive a stipend and Dr. Martin Morin was the first person appointed to this position.  The Foundation developed an active program of fund raising from Diplomates and organizations in the field.  Research proposals were solicited.  Each year starting in 1997 20 to 30 proposals were received and three to five were funded in amounts totaling about $45,000 to $100,000 each year.