Dr. Anna Worth

I would like to share some thoughts about a good friend of mine and a fellow past president of the American Animal Hospital Association.

Anna learned very shortly after I passed the presidency to her that she had inoperable cancer. I was devastated and will never forget the pain when I heard the news.

We had worked together for years as we progressed through AAHA leadership. It never occurs to you that something could threaten such a bond.

I often wonder what I would do if faced with a similar situation. I hope that I have the courage and the outlook to face such a crisis with the grace and dignity of Anna. She immediately let it be known that she would fulfill her duties and lead the association as planned. In case you aren’t aware this is an association with 40,000 individual members and 6,000 hospital members. The job requires extensive travel, constant media interviews, meetings throughout our profession and leading the board of directors. It is no small task for a person in good health. I spent much of the year chasing Anna and following her exploits when I wasn’t with her. Not only did she show up, she led with endless energy and the all important smile on her face. When I passed the gavel to her I mentioned in a quote that there are two kinds of people in this world. The first walks into a room and says, “Here I am!” The second type of person walks into a room and says, “There you are!” Anna was truly the second type of person. She was capable of bringing out the best in everyone and always made sure it was fun.

The culmination of the AAHA presidency is the yearly conference in March. This is an unbelievably exciting and busy time for the president. It is a week of leading meetings and public speaking with little or no free time. We were all worried about how Anna would hold up to the strain. I still feel immense pride when I think of how she carried off all of her duties. She was in the moment, happy, smiling and touching everyone with her passion for the veterinary profession. The memory of the week will always allow me to catch myself when I am feeling overworked or unhappy with a situation. I only need to ask, “How would Anna do this?”

Anna passed away on May 16, 2009. It was just six weeks after the annual conference.

I will always thank her for showing me how to be not just a better person but the best person I can be. 

Thank you Anna.


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