AAHA’s Tampa 2015 offers a dynamic line-up


Thousands of veterinary professionals will descend on Tampa, Fla. March 12-15 to attend Tampa 2015, AAHA’s annual conference, to be held at the Tampa Convention Center. It offers educational sessions, networking opportunities, social gatherings and special events. Vendors and industry partners will also be demonstrating the latest products, services, and technologies.

New to this year’s conference are expert-led education sessions in veterinary mental health, backyard poultry, team-taught cardiology and radiology sessions, and basic and advanced dental labs. Additionally, most technical sessions will be taught by veterinary technician specialists (VTS).

Regardless of your veterinary role, there will be something for everyone at Tampa 2015.

Conference tracks/sessions

For veterinarians

For veterinarians, the new veterinary mental health track, facilitated by award-winning expert and AAHA Past President Clayton A. MacKay, DVM, will address the higher-than-average industry suicide rate. It will also share the value and process behind a wellness plan for the entire veterinary health team, and what to do when a client can’t afford to pay for a pet’s care.

The new track on backyard poultry if being offered to meet the growing popularity of suburban backyard chicken and with it, a demand for veterinary care. This track will help medical professionals get current on chicken care.

Veterinarian offerings will also include real-world expertise offered in the form of teamwork sessions, and basic and advanced dental sessions and labs that include pre-conference prep and post-conference phone consultations.

Finally, there will be a track on neurology and the feline patient with expert Simon Platt, BVM&S, MRCVS, DAVCIM (neurology), DECVN, professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

For practice managers and owners

Practice managers and owners have unique needs, often revolving around business practices, and the tracks offered for them at Tampa 2015 will address those needs.

There will be a track on growth through retention, covering data integrity, easy-to-implement reminder protocols, and practical strategies for no-shows reduction, lost-client recapture, and forward booking.

The financial literacy track will explain how to understand the numbers, set goals, and achieve results. It will also offer insights on how financial understanding can take a practice to the next level and make every dollar count.

The innovation and change track will help practice owners and managers keep up with everything coming at them all the time.

Finally, Eric Garcia, an expert in veterinary-specific IT and digital marketing, will share his top tips for success in reaching out and drawing in more clients.

For technicians

Most of the sessions for technicians will be taught by VTS, who will make the sessions relevant and relatable. Technician teams will also co-teach teamwork sessions, and offer their unique point of view.

 A town hall meeting hosted by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), will provide participants with the opportunity to share thoughts and concerns specific to technicians and hear what NAVTA is doing.

Technicians can also further skills in the growing area of veterinary dental care, thanks to the new dental sessions and labs.

The exhibit hall

At the waterfront Tampa Convention Center, attendees have three days to explore the show and receive exhibit hall passports, visit with at least three exhibitors in each aisle, and enter to win prizes that include a grand prize of $3,000.

More than 220 exhibitors will present the latest in technology, products, services, and ways of doing business. These are the industry’s leaders—the people who directly affect the way veterinary hospitals treat patients and operate every day—and they will offer attendees hands-on opportunities with their offerings.

The new AAHA central location on the show floor will also offer everything AAHA—books, publications, member benefits, and the expertise of your professional association.

Social and networking events

Social and networking opportunities abound at Tampa 2015, including the following:

  • Late Night with AAHA, 9–11 p.m. is on Friday night at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel, and offers a veterinary talent show/open mic. (Includes non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, and a cash bar.)
  •  AAHA Fun Night at the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo is Saturday night. It includes the zoo’s Manatee and Aquatic Center that offers critical care for injured, sick, and orphaned animals. (Transportation, snacks, and beverages will be available.)
  • Four receptions offer networking opportunities: The AAHA Education and Resources Reception, Affinity Partners Reception, Canadian and International Reception, and Practice Manager Reception.

Pre-conference sessions (Wednesday, all day)

  • Practice Ownership: Fundamentals of Profitable Care and Growing a Patient Base, limited to 60 participants. Offers benchmarks, tools, and training on the business side of a veterinary practice; subjects include driving revenue growth while containing costs, measuring results, and improving business value.
  • Pain Management Bootcamp Needles, Joints, and Nerves: Instruction and Dry Lab on Injection Techniques for Pain Management in Small Animals. Includes lectures by experts in the field of veterinary pain management and dry lab for injecting joints and blocking nerves.

 Recognizing excellence

The AAHA-Accredited Practice Breakfast, held Sunday morning, offers the chance to hear from outgoing and incoming association presidents who will talk about AAHA’s progress and path to success so far. Practices celebrating 20 and 50 years in business will also be awarded Commitment to Excellence awards—a milestone moment.

For information and to register for Tampa 2015, visit AAHA.

This article is a summary of an article first published in Trends magazine, December 2014.