AAHA names new executive director

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has named Mike Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, as its new executive director. He replaces John Albers, DVM, who served as AAHA executive director for 23 years, and retired at the end of 2009.

Cavanaugh was selected by the AAHA board of directors after a four-month search by an appointed executive search committee. The five-member search committee included AAHA president John Tait, DVM; president-elect Gregg Takashima, DVM; past presidents Tom Carpenter, DVM, and Dennis Feinberg, DVM; and Carin Smith, DVM.

"As chair of the selection committee, our mandate was to find the best possible candidate to lead AAHA into the future,” Tait said. “The selection committee used a collaborative, and thorough, multi-stage process in screening candidates and arriving at our choice.”

Cavanaugh is a graduate of Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. He has practiced small animal medicine at various AAHA-accredited practices, including West Ridge Animal Hospital in Topeka, Kan., a hospital he founded and owned from 1988-1996. Cavanaugh has also served on various AAHA volunteer committees throughout his professional career. Before joining AAHA, Cavanaugh served as Director of Veterinary Hospital Services at Pfizer Animal Health. Additionally, he has worked for veterinary industry companies Heska Corp. and Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

"Ever since I first discovered AAHA in veterinary school, I have always admired and respected what the Association stood for: high quality medicine and dedication to excellence,” Cavanaugh said. “Serving AAHA and its members in this capacity is an outstanding honor."

Cavanaugh will officially take over as the new executive director on Jan. 21.