The wellbeing of animals and humans is close to the heart of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s new director

Susanna Peiponen, the new director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, was attracted to the job by its uniqueness: the Veterinary Teaching Hospital combines research, teaching, customer experience and business activities.

“I was extremely interested in the opportunity to work in Finland’s only teaching hospital providing veterinary education, to lead a large expert organisation and to secure and enable first-class teaching for students,” says Susanna Peiponen.

She has a long career at a Finnish veterinary pharmaceutical company Vetcare, where she worked in a variety of roles, most recently as a commercial director.

“I’m a veterinarian with a commercial mindset and passion for human and animal wellbeing,” says Peiponen, who started working at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Viikki Campus in May. 

Peiponen graduated with a Licentiate of Veterinary Medicine and as a specialist in production animal medicine from the University of Helsinki. She has also completed an EMBA degree at Henley Business School and written her thesis on the resilience and work wellbeing of young veterinarians and students.

“Investing in employee wellbeing is a major priority for me as a director, since veterinary medicine is a very high-stress occupation.”

In Peiponen’s view, the role of a leader has changed a great deal in recent years. 

“There is talent from four different generations in working life, and expectations for leadership and its diversity have increased correspondingly,” she says. 

Peiponen emphasises the importance of authenticity and human connection in leadership, even if digitalisation and artificial intelligence bring new possibilities to all fields. 

Peiponen says that she is still in the onboarding phase with regard to the development of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital but has recognised challenges such as the need to increase the student intake in veterinary medicine and the effects of the University’s tough financial situation. 

Working with students motivates Peiponen strongly.

“Early on when completing my specialisation studies at the Saari Clinic, I noticed that working with students is extremely rewarding and motivating,” she says. 

She is also interested in developing the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s cooperation opportunities with other shareholders in the field. 

“In the best case, we will find mutually beneficial models to create prerequisites for the global visibility of world-class Finnish science.”

In her spare time, Peiponen is kept busy by family and hobbies. 

“Football stole my heart as a child, and you can still find me on the field several times a week. Our family’s three dogs keep me active in different hobbies and also with long forest walks. These hobbies support my resilience and wellbeing in my everyday life."

Veterinary Teaching Hospital in brief

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital is part of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, which is Finland’s only provider of education in the field. The main duties of the hospital are teaching and research. The hospital serves as a teaching hospital for fifth-year students as well as postgraduate veterinarians. In addition, the hospital also provides apprenticeship training for veterinary nurses. The hospital is open 24 hours a day every day of the year.

In 2023, the Small Animal Hospital in Viikki treated 19,860 patients, of which 74% were dogs and 20% cats. The Viikki Equine Hospital was visited by 2,734 patients. The Production Animal Hospital located in Mäntsälä treated 15,082 patients with 3,701 clinic visits and 2,641 farm visits. Read more about the hospital.