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National Aquarium Names Dr. Leigh Clayton as Vice President of Animal Health and Welfare


The National Aquarium is pleased to announce Dr. Leigh Clayton as its new Vice President of Animal Health and Welfare. Clayton has served the National Aquarium since 2004, rising from Associate Veterinarian to Director of Animal Health.

In her new role, Clayton will manage the animal care and welfare department and expand the Aquarium's animal welfare program. She will work closely with all departments to ensure the well-being of the Aquarium's animals is appropriately understood, prioritized and incorporated.

"Dr. Clayton's expertise in animal care and welfare, staff development, and building relationships, inside and outside the Aquarium, makes her the ideal choice to lead our outstanding animal care and welfare team into the future," said National Aquarium Chief Operating Officer Dale Schmidt. "We look forward to her guidance as we continue to evolve our animal welfare commitment and innovative path to inspire conservation of aquatic animals."

Clayton is also the founder and operator of Animal Behavior Consultants of the Chesapeake. This consultancy expands understanding of the most positive, least intrusive, scientifically-based animal training methods for exotic/zoo veterinarians through lectures and workshops on applied behavior analysis in animal management and welfare of animals in human care.

She was awarded the National Aquarium Frank Gunther Employee of the Year honor in 2014, recognizing her as an employee who consistently demonstrates the values of the Aquarium and participates actively in community volunteer activities.

She serves on the executive board of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians.

Clayton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Bryn Mawr College and received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. She received her American Board of Veterinary Practitioners certification in Avian and Reptile/Amphibian Practice. Clayton is currently pursuing an Executive Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland Smith School of Business.