American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
The Mid-South Branch of AALAS became affiliated with national AALAS in 1987. The principal organizer and first president was Norman Braune. Other original members included: Jack Hessler, Linda Toth, Jerry Olson, Jon Garcia, Nancy Miller, Jerry Rehg, Mike Straign, and Bonnie Belton. The branch primarily served the local Memphis laboratory animal research community and met at local Memphis restaurants, with their first regional meeting being held at Mud Island in Memphis, TN. By early 2001 the Memphis-based branch ceased regular operations when a number of officers and key members departed the region to pursue various professional and personal interests.
In early 2002 Darrell Hoskins, then District 4 Trustee of National AALAS, initiated efforts to revitalize the branch. On August 16, 2002 interested individuals representing animal research organizations from across Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia met at Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Alabama to develop a plan to geographically expand and reorganize the Mid-South Branch. Participants at the August 16th meeting included: Darrell Hoskins (Southern Research Institute), Scott Bell (Southern Research Institute) Pamela Carden (Southern Research Institute), Gene Hines (University of Alabama Birmingham), Matthew Brown (Brown Family Enterprises), Joe Harre (Kessler Air force Base), David Carrey (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital), Roy Watkins (Mississippi State University), and Todd Pruden (Steris). During the meeting a new branch Constitution and new By-Laws were adopted, and new officers (Darrell Hoskins – President, Scott Bell – Vice-President, Barb Klocke-Secretary/treasurer, and Todd Pruden-Vendor Representative) and a new branch Board of Directors were appointed. Efforts were undertaken immediately to solicit new and expanded general membership, and to plan the first branch meeting under its newly reorganized structure and leadership. A strong relationship quickly formed thereafter between the burgeoning Mid-South Branch of AALAS and the Alabama Association for Biomedical Research (AABR), based on their complementary organizational goals and very similar target membership bases.
The Mid-South Branch partnered with AABR for a joint meeting that was held on April 25, 2003 in Birmingham, AL. The meeting was titled “Policies & Procedures for Reduction of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals” and featured several Mid-South AALAS Board members as speakers. Later that year, on August 1-2, 2003, the invigorated Mid-South Branch held its first solo membership meeting at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. The meeting was aptly titled “Mid-South BRANCHOUT”. In the spring of 2004 the branch again joined forces with AABR to host another very successful joint meeting. The Mid-South Branch has held general membership meetings in the fall and spring of each year since to serve the professional continuing educational needs of its ever-growing membership.
In 2004 the Mid-South Branch won the National AALAS Branch Challenge award for having the fastest growing membership in the nation.
On September 22, 2014 the Mid-South Branch became an incorporated, tax-exempt organization in the state of Tennessee.
Shonn Offord is currently the Executive Director and Principal Officer of record for the organization.
As of 2020 the branch boasts a membership of more than 450 individuals, 11 Institutions, and 20 Commercial Vendors.