The idea for an interdisciplinary forum for applied animal behavior resulted from an informal discussion in 1996 by four animal behaviorists with different disciplinary backgrounds in behavior:
- An experimental psychologist (John Wright)
- Veterinarian (Wayne Hunthausen)
- Veterinarian/animal behaviorist (Scott Line), and
- Zoologist (Suzanne Hetts)
Each animal behaviorist had been actively involved in the assessment and treatment of behavior problems, mostly in companion animals, and found value in hearing the others’ perspectives and interpretations of the same behavior, or issue. The four decided to create The Interdisciplinary Forum as an opportunity to share this kind of give and take by other experienced professionals in behavior.
Unique among professional meetings, IFAAB’s focus would be more on the critical discussion of issues, research, tools-of-the-trade, and other topics, than on presentation per se. Each invited participant would present a topic and be available for discussing others’ presentations for the two-day meeting.
The Founders organized the first IFAAB, hosted by Wayne in 1997 at his facility in Kansas City (see group photo); and subsequent meetings – Suzanne hosted the 2nd meeting in 1998 (Denver); and John and Scott hosted the 3rd meeting in 1999 (Atlanta).
In 2001, the organizers invited their first graduate student to participate in the Forum. Since it’s founding, more than 60 professionals have contributed to discussions on topics of applied animal behavior. IFAAB celebrated its 20th Anniversary meeting in Phoenix, in 2016.