Vice President of Animal Health
To apply for an open position, send your resume, cover letter and any relevant work samples to Please put the name of the job you are applying for in the subject line of your email. If applying for multiple positions, please send one email per position.

Position Description

Position Title: Vice President of Animal Health

Department: Animal Care

Classification: Exempt                                                                                                     

Direct Report: President and CEO

Position Summary

Responsible for directing all aspects of animal health for the entire living collection of aquatic, marine mammal and terrestrial animals at Mississippi Aquarium including preventative care, diagnostic services and treatments. Establishes quarantine protocols in conjunction with input from Vice President of Animal Care and Conservation and animal care staff. Directly responsible for managing Veterinary team.  Researches, establishes and maintains humane, respectful and professional animal health practices that will serve as the standard for the industry. Prepares and manages budgets and works with other Aquarium departments in developing and achieving team goals.

Position Attributes


  • Doctor of Veterinary medicine degree or equivalent (D.V.M. or V.M.D.)
  • State of Mississippi Veterinary license
  • Minimum of four years' experience in exotic animal medicine from a zoo, aquarium or related field with specific knowledge of avian, ichthyological and herpetological medicine
  • Two (2) years post-graduation experience at an authorized education, rehabilitation or research facility, with at minimum one (1) of these years at a facility authorized to hold marine mammals
  • Ability to diagnose, treat and medically clear rehabilitating marine mammals for release or transport
  • Experience with watercraft and other traumatic injuries, cold stress, entanglement, or other toxin exposure, emaciation, ingestion of foreign material and debilitation for all marine mammals regularly encountered in the Gulf
  • Evidence of significant experience in diagnostic and treatment techniques commonly employed during treatment including imaging, endoscopy and surgical removal of FP tumors
  • Post-mortem examination experience
  • Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation License required or ability to obtain within 1 year
  • Ability to obtain DEA Certificate within 1 year
  • USDA License required
  • Able to provide two (2) letters of support from practicing marine mammal veterinarians with personal knowledge of clinical proficiency
  • SCUBA certification preferred
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office software

Essential functions of this job described may be subject to change at any time due to reasonable accommodation or other reasons. 


  • Establishes and directs essential animal health related protocols for the entire animal collection
  • Researches, diagnoses and performs appropriate treatment regimens for the Aquarium’s animal collection
  • Performs surgical procedures when necessary on the animal collection
  • Performs necropsies and pathological analysis on mortalities of the collection
  • Maintains and updates animal health records
  • Maintains the highest level of quality as it relates to the Aquarium's public and professional image pertaining to animal health
  • Develops a research program focusing on applied animal health projects and coordinates animal health related research activities with other institutions in conjunction with the Director of Research and the Research Committee.
  • In conjunction with Chief Executive Officer, participate and assist in developing and furthering the Aquarium’s conservation programs.
  • Coordinates and supervises contract diagnostic and pathological services
  • Researches and makes recommendations to biologists regarding animal nutrition, and zoonotic diseases.
  • Trains, works with and updates Biologists on all issues of animal health
  • Ensures availability of veterinary staff for emergencies as necessary
  • Develops, implements and meets yearly budgets and maintains accurate accounting records
  • Represents the aquarium at selected conferences and speaking engagements; gives media interviews
  • Conducts and assists ongoing research projects, both internally and externally, that are relevant, goal-specific and in direct support of the Aquarium's mission; ensure that internal research using living organisms is conducted in a professionally competent and ethical manner
  • Writes and presents formal papers at conferences; writes articles for scientific publications
  • Actively participates in Cross-functional teams
  • Other duties as assigned by the CEO

People Management Responsibilities

Staffing and development

  • Includes hiring, coaching, counseling, workload balancing, development and training

Evaluation and recognition

  • Establishes performance plans, conducts periodic coaching reviews and evaluates performance and merit pay increases in recognition of contributions


  • Communicates Mississippi Aquarium’s purpose, vision, mission and values to all group team members
  • Creates an atmosphere of team concepts, integrity, risk-taking and empowerment
  • Assists in the development of Outcomes and Objectives for the Aquarium

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job.  Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

Team Requirements

  • Safety and Security - All Team Members are required to adhere to all Mississippi Aquarium safety and security standards.
  • Attendance & Appearance - To maximize the guest’s experience, all Team Members are required to adhere to Mississippi Aquarium standard operating procedures regarding attendance and dress code policies as it relates to individual job functionality.
  • Sales & Guest Services - Our forward-thinking business model requires listening and understanding the needs of our guests both internal and external.  To that end, we must always be focused on the guest experience which is the key driver for return guest visitation and increased sales.
  • Team Partnership - All Team Members are focused on supporting each other to complete the guest experience.  Therefore, supporting, facilitating, and participating in activities that promote team effectiveness is vital to our Organization.

Physical Demands & Work Environment

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell.  The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. While performing the
duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.