Attendance dips at AAHA conference

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May 01, 2008

TAMPA, FLA. — The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) met veterinarian requests for a shorter, more concentrated conference to reduce time spent away from practices, but saw attendance drop slightly from 2007 at its annual conference in late March.

The 2008 AAHA Yearly Conference in Tampa — which celebrated the association's 75th anniversary — welcomed 3,665 attendees, almost 300 fewer than last year. The breakout included 1,330 veterinarians; 295 practice managers; 395 technicians; 125 veterinary assistants and support staff; 100 veterinary students, technician students and other professionals; 500 guests and 920 exhibitors.

The condensed conference, which provided the same amount of continuing education as last year, focused on AAHA's aim to help practices thrive and adapt to the changes in the veterinary medicine market.

"The pre-conference programs were in-depth, intense learning experiences for a limited audience that allowed attendees to focus on one topic for an entire day," says Jason Merrihew, AAHA's marketing communications coordinator.

AAHA also announced the launch of its referral-practice accreditation and pet-insurance policy seal of acceptance programs, and a partnership with national branding firm Flieshman-Hillard to increase association visibility among pet owners and veterinary professionals, Merrihew says.