AAWL Medical Director Career Opportunity

Are you a passionate, innovative leader in the field of veterinary medicine who is ready to help re-envision animal sheltering in Arizona?

Do you have a high level of cultural competency and experience partnering with pet owners from historically marginalized communities to take care of their animals?

Do you want to play a leadership role in mentoring veterinarians who are inspired by shelter work and want to give back to their communities?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, we would like for you to join the Arizona Animal Welfare League in Phoenix, Arizona as our Medical Director!

AAWL – Who We Are

Founded in 1971, the Arizona Animal Welfare League is the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in the state of Arizona. We started as a small sanctuary for homeless animals and have grown over the past 50 years to become a statewide animal welfare organization providing a full range of community services from adoptions and behavioral assessments to low-cost medical care and humane education.

With an annual combined budget of approximately $5.7 million, AAWL is a private, shelter (w/o any government contracts) devoted to providing excellent care, protection, and loving compassion for the life of the animals entrusted to us. To achieve our mission, we manage foster, volunteer, education, adoption, medical, behavior and education programs. Our staff includes 53 full-time staff members and 27 part-time employees.

AAWL’s campus is located just minutes from downtown Phoenix, a vibrant and culturally diverse city. With more than 325 days of annual sunshine, Greater Phoenix is surrounded by mountains and home to the beautiful Sonoran Desert. The area’s near-perfect weather goes hand-in-hand with recreation activities, including running, mountain biking, hiking and camping.

AAWL’s long-term goal is to eliminate barriers to accessing vet care and decrease the number of animals who enter the shelter system altogether. We prioritize turning “unadoptable” dogs into adoptable ones by ensuring animals in our care engage in programming, enrichment and behavior modification plans that help them meet their needs and learn good behaviors. We are working hard to build a culture where we embrace and implement inclusive, welcoming practices (both internally and externally) that help us serve the needs of pet owners from historically marginalized communities. We strive to be empathetic, compassionate, and better understand the pet-human challenges so that we can deliver non-judgmental and non-bias care to pet owners and ensure people and pets are respected and treated with dignity. Finally, we are working to leverage the strengths and assets of under-resourced communities to secure better outcomes for the people and animals we serve in rural parts of the state. To learn more about the work of AAWL, please visit aawl.org.

Position Overview

The Medical Director will serve as the chief veterinarian at AAWL, directly supervising relief veterinarians working at the shelter, a Practice Manager, and Inventory Manager. The Medical Director plays a key role in the health of all the animals at the Arizona Animal Welfare League and is responsible for leading AAWL’s veterinary teams working in both the shelter clinic (serving homeless animals) and the low-cost clinic (offering vet care to the public). New equipment at both clinic facilities (located on the same campus) include: Digital Xray (Vet-Ray by Sedecal), Ultrasound (GE LogIQ P3 Vet), In-house chemistry, hematology, and urinalysis equipment (Idexx Sedivue, Catalyst One, and Procyte Dx), High speed dental units (2) (IM3 GS Deluxe), Digital Dental Xray (SIRona Wall unit) and Surgivet Monitoring units (2).

The Medical Director is expected to spend approximately 80% of their time during the week providing a variety of animal healthcare duties at the shelter, including surgeries, examinations, tests, diagnoses, and handling preventive medical care of the animals at both our shelter and low-cost public clinics. The Medical Director also ensures the regulatory compliance of the shelter and develops and approves and maintains veterinary standards of care for all shelter animals. The Medical Director is an integral part of AAWL’s Management Team, reporting directly to the President and CEO and ensuring an environment of positive teamwork within clinic/shelter staff and between the veterinary team and all other shelter departments, while also providing mentorship and development opportunities for all veterinary staff.


  • Ensure high quality veterinary care is provided for shelter animals as well as animals seen in our public clinic, including handling case management, and performing surgeries once/twice a week if needed to cover relief veterinarian shifts.
  • Maintain medical protocols and standard operating procedures
  • Guide staff in securing care for animals needing outside specialty medical services
  • Responsible for directly supervising a Practice Manager, Inventory Manager and team of 7 relief vets
  • Handle the recruitment, hiring and onboarding of all new staff veterinarians
  • Provide veterinary expertise in media, public forums and internally as needed
  • Assist in establishing and monitoring monthly revenues/expenses and the annual budget for the medical department and make recommendations for improvement to create efficiency to reduce costs and save more lives
  • Participate in weekly meetings with management team/medical team
  • Provide management and Board of Directors with recommendations and information regarding medical services on a regular basis
  • Participate in events with partner organizations as well as AAWL’s signature events
  • Manage partnerships with local vet schools, including University of Arizona and Mid-Western University’s Shelter Medicine department to help recruit externs/staff
  • Work with other departments within the shelter
  • Keep accurate and complete medical records
  • Must willing to hold premise license (public clinic) and DEA for public and shelter clinic and sign shelter rabies certificates


  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree required.
  • Arizona veterinary license in good standing, or ability to obtain.
  • A minimum of 3 years clinic experience; shelter medicine experience (preferred).
  • At least one year of experience directly supervising professional staff.
  • DEA license eligibility.
  • Ability to speak and write Spanish (preferred).
  • A history of communicating effectively in writing and verbally, including media skills.
  • Proven experience overseeing the development of operating procedures and managing data and medical records; Experience with Hippo and PetPoint (preferred);
  • Ability to collect and analyze data and present to management/board;
  • Demonstrated interest in incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs into in all aspects of AAWL’s work.
  • Strong work ethic and the ability to interact effectively with volunteers from divergent geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Ability to work both independently and as a member of a team, and to have excellent problem solving and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to work in a high-pressure environment and to multi-task.
  • Creative, result-oriented, self-starting, willing to learn, and able to manage an aggressive schedule

To Apply for This Position

To express your interest in this role please submit your cover letter, resume and at least three references to anavidad@aawl.org. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

AAWL is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. AAWL encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, or disability.

Employment Details

  • The opportunity to establish and run an innovative and exciting shelter medical program.
  • The opportunity to embrace and implement a culturally competent access to care program that is more patient- and client- centered and addresses the diverse needs of residents from historically marginalized communities.
  • The opportunity to work at an organization that values work-life balance. (Schedule is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F; Plus, very limited weekend/on-call work. The Medical Director is expected to only work one Saturday per month at our low-cost community vaccine clinic from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.)
  • The opportunity to receive formal training opportunities on how to incorporate an equity lens in applying management practices, how to nurture relationships on your team, how to give feedback and develop your medical staff.
  • Arizona Veterinary Medical and DEA license fees paid.