Inside AAHA: May 2022

AAHA immediate past president Pam Nichols, DVM, CCRP, talks about changing your narrative, and making a positive change in your practice and life. Also, Dear AAHA answers a question about radiology training, and, an introduction to AAHA Community.

View from the Board

Change Your Narrative

Hello amazing AAHA peeps! I was lucky enough to be asked to write two “View from the Board” articles back-to-back, which means you, dear AAHA peeps, get to hear more from me before I leave this beloved board. I am in my ninth year of volunteering time to improve the association and the profession.

Serving on the AAHA Board has been the most valuable time spent in my professional career. Certainly, the patients that I cared for and the clients that I have loved were important to me, but YOU PEOPLE—whether from a Tetons Pack-Trip CE, Connexity, a VMG meeting, or an AAHA Board meeting—you people have changed my life forever. I have a renewed faith in the power of positivity. I have unending faith that we are all more alike than we are different. I have confidence that our profession is heading in the right direction because we have a new group of young leaders stepping up to volunteer their time.

The culture within veterinary practices and around veterinary medicine in general needs to change. We have heard that negative culture is pervasive and that the problems are systemic and inherent in or unique to vet medicine. Well, I disagree. Changing the culture in each of our practices simply means changing behavior, right? How about we start by changing the narrative. It will take effort and it will be as simple or as complex for each of us as we decide it will be.

When my daughter was five or six, she learned that the only things she could control were her attitude and her behavior. (It is a funny story, but much too long for this article, so ask me if you are interested in hearing it!) I am not kidding about her age when she learned that lesson, and even though, like all kids, she has had moments of griping about this or that or grumbling about something that was out of her control, she is living proof that changing the narrative works. I realized that if a five- or six-year-old can learn to control her words and behavior, so can a veterinary team.

Have you ever heard something along these lines: “Mrs. Jones is in room three, and she is so cranky today! Be careful, and good luck!” How trepidatious do you feel walking into that room? Do you feel annoyed? Defensive? How does that narrative change the way you might interact with Mrs. Jones? Most importantly, how might you feel if that narrative were changed? “Mrs. Jones is in room three, and she is super worried about her pup; this is the third time she has been in for this problem,” or perhaps “Mrs. Jones is in room three, and she might need a little extra grace, caring, or empathy today.” Does simply changing the narrative change the way you behave or feel when you walk into room three? YES. The answer is yes.

Changing the narrative may seem too simple to be real. It may seem too obvious to have influence. I can promise you—it works. It works with children, puppies, challenging clients, and complicated team members. It absolutely can help change veterinary medicine.

All my best to all of you and your amazing teams,

Dr. Pam

Pamela Nichols, DVM, CCRP, is AAHA’s immediate past-president. She received her DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in 1996 and her bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Utah in 1987. Her background is varied and includes work as a financial consultant, veterinary technician, veterinary receptionist, and associate veterinarian. Nichols opened Animal Care Center in West Bountiful, Utah, in 1999 and the Animal Care Center Airport in 2014. They are both AAHA-accredited facilities. The K-9 Rehabilitation Center, which opened in 2002, was one of the first in the country of its kind.



Dear AAHA,

I’ve assigned the radiology training on AAHA Learning to my staff and they need login information. Do they have to create their own accounts?


Thanks for the great question. We recommend that staff have their own unique logins to the AAHA website ( Keep your staff list current with emails for your team so they can take advantage of AAHA benefits, including all the CE on AAHA Learning and the brand-new AAHA Community.

—AAHA’s Member Experience Team

Have a question you’d like AAHA to answer? Email us at

Introducing AAHA Community

At AAHA, we see firsthand that teamwork is at the core of accreditation. We also recognize that the veterinary profession faces problems so complex that no one person is going to be able to fix them, so we feel a duty to provide opportunities for you to collaboratively brainstorm solutions.

In the past, AAHA has done this through educational programs and our yearly conference, Connexity, but our newest member benefit aims to extend that year-round. AAHA Community is not another social media site—it’s a place for crowdsourcing ideas, advice, and inspiration within a safe virtual space just for members.

Purpose of AAHA Community

As a private online platform, AAHA Community makes it easier for you to get answers to your pressing questions—both from the association and from other members.

Support and maintain your accreditation

  • Browse the newsfeed and follow topic tags to clarify AAHA Standards of Accreditation
  • Get faster responses from your AAHA team and share your questions for the benefit of others
  • Crowdsource answers and resources
  • Post messages and polls about specific challenges
  • Get files and templates added by other members in the Resource Library
  • Attend webinar events and join private groups
  • Build relationships with AAHA members
  • Locate AAHA members in the Directory
  • Read member profiles and network through direct messaging

You’re Invited!

New AAHA members will be invited to join AAHA Community shortly after activating membership. If you are an existing AAHA member and you haven’t received an email invitation, please log in at to update your contact information or reach out to




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