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Who is Dr. Ilze Berzins?

Ilze K. Berzins has an inter-disciplinary approach to her clinical, teaching, conservation and research skills focused around the concept of One Health – healthy ecosystems, healthy animals, and healthy humans. She is currently working on a Masters of Public Health to expand her career path to better encompass the goals of conservation medicine within One Health. During this time she will also be working as an aquatic health consultant through her program of One World, One Water, One Health.

She most recently served as the Executive Vice President for Animal Health, Conservation, and Research at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. With her team, she was responsible for the health of nearly 32,500 animals, and for the development and implementation of numerous programs within the Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research, a center she helped develop.

Prior to her position at the Shedd Aquarium, she was the Vice President of Biological Operations and Veterinarian at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida. She was with the Aquarium for over 12 years and was responsible for husbandry, animal health, dive programs, and conservation and research programs. She has also helped established The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation as well as a well received yearly lecture program.

Dr. Berzins holds both a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Biology from Stanford University, a PhD in Zoology from University of California, Berkeley, and a DVM from the University of California, Davis. She completed a three-year post-doctoral fellowship program in Comparative Pathology from The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore.

Research opportunities have taken her to the Florida Keys, various Caribbean Islands, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, the Guyana National Zoo and the Karanambu Trust in South America, and along the West Coast both at the Hopkins Marine Biology Station in Pacific Grove, California and at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, California.

She has held several teaching positions including visiting Assistant Professorships at the University of Hawaii, University of California, Davis, Northeastern University’s School for Field Studies program, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, and the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. Currently she holds a Courtesy Faculty appointment with the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Florida.

Dr. Berzins is involved with several significant committees including the Committee for Environmental Issues and the Committee for Disasters and Emergency Issues for the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is current president for the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine. Recently, she joined the board of the Karanambu Trust serving as aquatic advisor to help establish the site and surrounding area as a protected, sustainable use region in the interior wetlands of Guyana, South America.
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