AAHA’s Culture Initiative

Practice culture is made up of the values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape how work gets done, and It is built through daily touchpoints, both among team members and with clients.

Practice culture is made up of the values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape how work gets done, and it is built through daily touchpoints, both among team members and with clients.

Supportive cultures empower employees and promote client loyalty. But cultures aren’t static. Every day, your practice culture either builds positive energy or depletes the resourcefulness of the team.

The Veterinarian Life Cycle

The 2020 AAHA-Coffman State of Veterinary Culture Report assessed a wide range of indicators of a healthy workplace culture. The report revealed key findings about engagement and satisfaction in the workplace; most significantly, it identified a strong correlation between tenure and both engagement and satisfaction.

Based on these patterns, we created the Veterinary Life Stages, an exciting new way to address the profession’s needs. Over the course of 15 years, veterinarians progress through four distinct phases of growth and development, as seen in the chart above.

The phases are further subdivided into stages which follow a repeatable pattern: one stage of personal development, followed by a stage where one’s relationship with colleagues plays the greatest role in their satisfaction.

Of the many insights, two stood out:

  • Veterinarian’s engagement and satisfaction decreases at a steady rate for the first five years of their careers. It then steadily increases back to its height at the very beginning of one’s career over the next ten years.
  • One of the key factors in workplace satisfaction is having a healthy relationship with the people around them. In many cases, it is the most important factor. AAHA’s Culture Initiative provides resources and tips for identifying behaviors that allows team members to live the practice’s values and accomplish the practice’s business goals. Through the creation of the Life Stages, it is our hope to empower individual team members to do the same for themselves.


AAHA’s Culture Initiative helps veterinary teams create work environments that foster wellbeing with a range of resources beginning at the most local level—your hospital.

At any time, please explore AAHA’s free resources to learn more about practice culture and start realizing what a healthy culture can do for you, your team, and your practice.

Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Personal Branding: Fighting Burnout in the First 5 Years

A 2020 survey of over 2000 veterinary professionals showed us an alarming truth: the happiest day of a new veterinarian’s career is their very first one. For the next 3-5 years, engagement and job satisfaction is in free fall. What are new graduates needing that they aren’t getting? We brought together a panel of new grads, experienced practitioners, entrepreneurs, and career coaches to dig deep into the needs of associates in their most vulnerable time: 3-5 years out of school. Here are the top tips and takeaway from that interactive session.

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AAHA’s Guide to Veterinary Practice Team Wellbeing

The challenge of achieving personal and professional wellbeing is recognized as a critical issue within the veterinary profession. Written by various experts in the field of personal wellbeing and culture, AAHA’s Guide to Veterinary Practice Team Wellbeing is designed to help team members embrace the benefits of self-care and support individual wellbeing in the veterinary practice. 

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The Link Between a Healthy Workplace Culture and Optimal Personal Wellbeing

Personal wellbeing and workplace culture impact every member of the veterinary practice team. In this roundtable discussion, AAHA tapped into the expertise of mental health professionals and other driving culture transformation to learn why they believe wellbeing and practice culture are inextricably linked and what you can do to improve both.

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Course Introductions

Ready to take a deeper dive into healthy practice culture? AAHA Learning has easy-to-follow courses to build long-term, sustainable change to encourage your employees and practice to thrive. Start with the brief introductions below to see which one is right for you!

Attracting and Hiring Exceptional Talent

Stop the Drama! Eliminating Conflict in Your Practice

Mastering Difficult Client Conversations

Developing a Vision to Create the Practice You Want

Managing Your Practice, Leading Your Team

Building a Fully Engaged Team

Learning modules

These modules will teach you about each type of culture and how they shape your organizational culture. You’ll learn concepts and tools to optimize these cultures and leverage them to improve your practice’s larger organizational culture.


AAHA’s Culture Initiative is supported through a generous educational grant from Merck Animal Health.

Statistics from: AAHA; Aspire; Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study (2018); National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (2016); Deloitte University Press, “Global Human Capital Trends 2015, Leading in the New World of Work”


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