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ACZM Murray E. Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award

2021 Murray Fowler Award JPG

Murray E. Fowler is recognized as the father of zoological medicine - a term that he gave the specialty he launched at University of California, Davis in 1967. Dr. Fowler was widely regarded for his teaching, scholarship and clinical practices that have been used to train veterinarians at zoos, universities and wildlife centers globally. He authored the first textbook on zoo animal medicine and was an author or editor of more than 25 books and more than 250 academic papers.  Dr. Fowler was a founding member of the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM), the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), and the American College of Veterinary Toxicology (ACVT). He was a charter member and past-President of the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM), past-President of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV), and was a member of many other professional organizations including the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV), the Brazilian zoo veterinarians (they even have a group called Groupo Fowler in his honor). He served as Editor of the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. (1977-1988), and he was a Trustee of the Morris Animal Foundation (1981-1986), supporting a research fund for wildlife health. During his long career he was a mentor to many of the leaders in the field of zoological medicine today and this award is one way the ACZM will contribute to keeping his legacy alive.

The 2021 recipient of the Murray Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award is
Dr. R. Eric Miller.

Dr. R. Eric Miller has touched the lives of countless individuals throughout his career with tremendous contributions and especially by building meaningful relationships, much like Dr. Fowler himself. Many, if not most Diplomates in our college, have known and most likely personally benefited from his support, encouragement, contributions and leadership, some for the entirety of our careers.

There are few individuals that have had more influence in advancing the importance of Zoological Medicine globally than Dr. R. Eric Miller. This Diplomate’s long and productive career shines as an example of what can be accomplished in our field through tremendous hard work, expertise, optimism and collaboration.

Dr. R. Eric Miller earned his DVM from Ohio State University. As a young veterinarian, he had a passion for rhinos and became one of the first veterinary advisors. He helped develop the first broad job description for this role; developing a list of needed research projects, compiling comprehensive bibliography, summary of medical problems and coordinated investigation into the cause of hemolytic anemia. Through these efforts, he became one of the world’s experts in rhino medicine. This approach was adopted by many other veterinary advisors and became the gold standard that few others have achieved. He accomplished this by developing competence and credibility, through solid relationships with people from many professions worldwide. Over four decades of work, Dr. Miller has also directly contributed to the conservation of countless other species and their habitats: including South china tigers, giant pandas, endemic birds and prosimians of the Galapagos and Madagascar islands respectively and many others. One of the biggest contributions to saving species from extinction was his ability to redefine zoo-based conservation to tackle global conservation issues incorporating a One Health approach long before the term was widely understood.

Dr. Miller has made great personal contributions to expanding the knowledge base of zoological medicine through well over 100 scientific and popular articles and presentations. Perhaps what stands out even more has been their success and years of editorial service and contributions to the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (JZWM). His efforts developed partnerships to sustain the publication financially and pulled together veterinary leaders from around the world to provide support and editorial influence for this Journal. He followed a pattern set by Dr. Fowler, who was also so well regarded internationally; brokering memorandums that led to JZWM becoming the respected and official publication of both AAZV and EAZWV. And he was the driving force behind having foreign translations of the Journal’s abstracts in 11 languages.

Dr. R. Eric Miller carried the torch as editor for Fowler’s Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine textbook series and continues to share Murray’s unrivaled passion to travel and connect with international colleagues to advance the knowledge of zoological medicine and a dedication to mentoring others. Like Dr. Fowler, he has been an effective leader and mentor by being kind, generous and humble. Dr, Miller has reminded us that our profession should be fun, enjoyable, to respect and appreciate one another and not to take ourselves too seriously. He has spent a lifetime investing in teaching and training the next generation of zoo and wildlife veterinarians, directly mentoring many ACZM residents, now ACZM Diplomates, and have made incredible impressions on so many students with their welcoming and encouraging words of support.

From starting as a resident at the Saint Louis Zoo in 1981, to staff veterinarian, to Director of Animal Health and Conservation and to eventually taking on the leadership role as Senior Vice President and Director of Zoological Operations and Executive Director of the Zoo’s WildCare Institute. Dr. Miller's vision led to the creation of the SLZ’s Institute for Conservation Medicine expanding conservation efforts to incorporate principles of wildlife epidemiology, one health and veterinary medicine.

Dr. Miller has also served as an Executive Officer of the ACZM (including as Secretary, Vice-President and President) as well as a member of the Credentials and Examination Committees. The list of accolades he has received are rivaled by very few and are a testament to the impact of his career. His service has helped cement the role of veterinary medicine into the fabric of reputable zoo operations, helped define the value that specialty trained zoological medicine veterinarians can add to an organization and whose expertise can contribute to conservation in a sustained and meaningful way. Dr. Miller has left an epic mark on the world and the future of zoological medicine; accomplishments Murray was and would certainly be very proud of.

Award Information:
This award recognizes an ACZM Diplomate that has demonstrated exceptional commitment and contributions to the ACZM while making significant lifetime contributions that have advanced the discipline of zoological medicine. This award was created in honor of Murray Fowler, who was also the award's first designee in 2014. The award was accepted posthumously by Dr. Fowler's wife, Audrey. The award is presented at the annual ACZM business meeting. It is awarded to no more than one Diplomate per year and will only be awarded in years when a Diplomate has been nominated by a member of the college and successfully approved by the ACZM Executive Committee.
To nominate a Diplomate for the ACZM Murray E. Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award a diplomate must submit a letter that provides the reasons for the nomination, two additional letters of support from ACZM members, and the individual's CV.  All nomination materials are sent to the ACZM secretary (

Prior Recipients:
2021: Dr. R. Eric Miller

2020: Dr. Donald Janssen

2018: Dr. Mitch Bush

2017: Dr. Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf

2016: Dr. Kay Mehren

2015: Dr. Dick Montali

2014:  (Inaugural) Dr. Murray E. Fowler