Telehealth and teamwork: AAHA welcomes 2020–2021 board of directors at first all-virtual conference

LAKEWOOD, Colorado— October 3, 2020—The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) welcomed three new officers and one new director to the AAHA Board of Directors during the Connexity by AAHA conference, which was held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a year when veterinary hospitals have had to quickly change how they do things, AAHA plays a crucial role in guiding the profession in new areas such as telehealth, said 2020–2021 Board President Pamela Nichols, DVM, CCRP. The association will team up with AVMA to release the AAHA/AVMA Telehealth Guidelines for Small-Animal Practices in January 2021.

The challenges of 2020 have also put the focus on the importance of workplace culture and teamwork when faced with seemingly insurmountable circumstances. 

“Veterinary care is a team effort, and we have standards in place to ensure the team is treated well and valued as an integral part of healthcare delivery,” said Nichols. “If a veterinary team is celebrated, rather than one single veterinarian, everyone wins. The team wins because they are valued and utilized—they get to do what they are trained to do; the practice owner wins because clients become bonded to the team, rather than just one doctor; and the practice is worth more because it is not dependent on one single star personality, but rather on a whole team of caregivers.”

To see the full AAHA Board of Directors and learn more about the association, visit Connexity 2021 will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona, September 22–25. For more on AAHA’s conference, visit

2020–2021 AAHA Board of Directors officers and new director

Pamela Nichols, DVM, CCRP, president

Nichols received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Colorado State University and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah. She opened Animal Care Center in West Bountiful, Utah, in 1999 and the Animal Care Center Airport in 2014, which are both AAHA accredited. The K-9 Rehabilitation Center, opened in 2002, was one of the first of its kind. Nichols is the recipient of multiple awards, including Utah’s Best of the State Award (2013–2019).

Adam Hechko, DVM, president-elect

A proud graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and an avid Buckeye fan, Hechko earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2006 and his undergraduate degree in 2002 from the University of Findlay. Since 2006, Hechko has served as owner and medical director for North Royalton Animal Hospital, a small-animal practice that became accredited in 2012 and was named the AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year in 2015.

Margot Vahrenwald, DVM, vice president

Vahrenwald started her career in communications, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in public communications from American University. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Colorado State University in 2000. She completed a small-animal internship and worked for four years as a staff veterinarian in Washington, D.C., before returning to Colorado in 2004, where she opened Park Hill Veterinary Medical Center in 2011.

Scott Driever, DVM, new director

Driever is a Houston native who received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University in 2000. He began his career at Animal Hospital Highway 6 in Sugarland, Texas, where he became a partner in 2005 and purchased the practice in 2015. He is a member of AVMA, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and the Harris County Veterinary Medical Association. 


Since 1933, the American Animal Hospital Association has been the only organization to accredit veterinary hospitals throughout the United States and Canada according to more than 900 standards directly correlated to high-quality medicine and compassionate care. Accreditation in veterinary medicine is voluntary. The AAHA-accredited logo is the best way to know a practice has been evaluated by a third-party. Look for the AAHA logo. For more information about the American Animal Hospital Association, visit