Training, Tracking, and Compliance Is a Breeze
By Gary Priest, Curator - Animal Care Training
The San Diego Zoo Global Academy is a relatively new tool to all of us, including those of us here in San Diego. Every five years, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park are scheduled for accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and 2014 is an accreditation year for us. We are exploring ways to leverage the San Diego Zoo Global Academy’s powerful training and tracking resources to better ensure a smooth accreditation inspection in the fall. One opportunity is the AZA requirement for zoonotic disease prevention training. Under the accreditation Safety & Security Section 11.1.2., all institutions must provide and document animal care staff training in this area.
Because of the size of our two facilities (a combined 2,500 employees), during our 2009 accreditation we began collecting documents nine months in advance. We needed to schedule several presentations on zoonotic disease prevention at different times, and on multiple days, and in many different locations in order to cast the widest training net possible. Each presentation required time and we needed to track who attended—which was recorded with a clipboard and the honor system.
Today, the Global Academy features an online class in zoonotic disease prevention written by our Corporate Director of Animal Health, Dr. Don Janssen. Because it is part of the Global Academy, this nationally recognized class is now available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and worldwide from any computer, and the software automatically tracks every student’s training progress. In San Diego, we require that each of our employees with animal handling responsibilities take and pass the Zoonotic Disease course with a score of 90% or better or they must repeat the class.
In August 2013, we identified a total of 432 employees with responsibility for handling and/or caring for animals. The various divisions include: Mammals, Birds, Vet & Hospital Services, Nutrition, Education, Reptiles, Entomology, Children’s Zoo, Elephants, Behavior Management, Curators, and the research staff at the Institute for Conservation Research. In early September, employees received an email to create their own account in the Global Academy and to take and pass the required zoonotic disease prevention course before the end of 2013.
In early January, the report showed that out of 432 employees, 400 had joined the new My Academy site, completed their zoonosis training, and passed the quiz with 90% or better within those 12 weeks. The remaining 32 employees that still needed training will have done so by the time this newsletter comes out. Because this training is a zoological best practice concerning animal health and welfare and human safety, our organizational goal was to achieve 100% training compliance in time for our AZA accreditation inspection. With the Global Academy, we are quickly and efficiently accomplishing that goal. The Global Academy is the right tool for the job!
Would you like to hear more about San Diego Zoo Global Academy in general?
Please contact Linda Duca at (516) 815-2886, or LDuca@Cypherworx.com