Looking back: Optometry’s Meeting® draws to a close

Looking back: Optometry’s Meeting® draws to a close

AOA members support a great cause at the 2016 Optometry Cares® 5K Run/Walk sponsored by The Vision Council and Transitions. 

Start planning now for Optometry’s Meeting 2017 in Washington, D.C., June 21-25.

Optometry's Meeting®, quite literally, went out with a bang as Boston's patriotic Fourth of July ceremony capped off another wholly successful conference, one sure to be remembered for years to come.

The 119th Annual AOA Congress & 46th Annual American Optometric Student Association Conference: Optometry's Meeting concluded Saturday, but not before taking care of optometry's business. Here's the latest from the profession's premier event:

House of Delegates takes action
The AOA House of Delegates continued session Saturday with reports and updates from key AOA committees about priority initiatives.

In keeping with AOA Executive Director Jon Hymes' state of the association address days earlier, in which he noted that AOA is "moving with striking swiftness, overcoming obstacles, and advancing on all fronts," delegates were informed of state legislative and regulatory challenges in the previous year. Those challenges revolved around the advent of disruptive technologies, harmful business practices implemented by vision plans and some online contact lens retailers, or scope of practice measures. Additionally, Annette Hanian, O.D., Arizona Optometric Association legislative chair, and William Bogus, O.D., of Utah, were named Advocates of the Year.

The AOA Federal Relations Committee noted a multi-pronged approach to fighting illegal contact lens sales, in addition to key legislation in H.R. 3323, the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act, that would curb abusive vision plan policies, and S. 2777, the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act, that would crack down on internet sales tactics and schemes that deceive the public and put patients at risk. The committee also advised doctors to be aware of new challenges later this year from the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

Click here to visit AOA's Online Legislative Action Center to take action on these bills, urging your legislators support. And click here to help support AOA-PAC efforts.

The AOA Third Party Center noted crucial work to further level the playing field for doctors of optometry, including meetings to solidify optometry's fair inclusion in health care provisions and an influential letter sent to VSP representatives that garnered immediate action.

New attacks against optometry have one common denominator, AOA President Steven A. Loomis, O.D., pointed out to delegates: "The value of care we provide." He added, "Optometry may be the object of the attack, but it is our patients who become the casualties."

AOA leadership takes office
The 119th annual AOA Congress concluded session with the AOA Board of Trustees election and official swearing-in ceremony of new officers for the 2016-17 year.

Andrea P. Thau, O.D., of New York, took office as AOA president, addressing the House of Delegates in her inaugural address: "(This) is a trust that I don't take lightly, and I have a dedication to really want to help advance our profession. I think each one of us has to be able to contribute back to our profession at the highest level that we possibly can."

In other board election results, third-year trustee Gregory A. Caldwell, O.D., of Pennsylvania, stepped down from the board, opening up a vacancy filled by newcomers Jacqueline Bowen, O.D., of Colorado, and Steven T. Reed, O.D., of Mississippi.

Read more about Drs. Bowen and Reed in the June 2016 edition of AOA Focus (member login required), and read more about the other board positions filled.

Boston 5K winners
Scenic Castle Island, with the historic, 19th Century-era bulwarks of Fort Independence, was the site of The Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by The Vision Council and Transitions®. This year's top male runners included: Nathan Morrow, of Indiana; Ryan Proulx, of New Hampshire; and John Fischer, of California. Top female runners included, Kimberly Budri, O.D., of Massachusetts; Felicia Slate, of Michigan; and Jennifer Nguyen, of New York.

All the fanfare
Talk about ending on a high note—Optometry's Meeting concluded with a stirring "Broadway to Boston" performance during A Celebration of Optometry, sponsored by HOYA.

Cinderella stars Laura Osnes and Jeff Pew—playing the parts of Ella and Topher, respectively, on Broadway—headlined a black-tie-affair evening that brought the magical, melodious glamour of New York's playhouses to The Hub. Joined by the Boston Children's Chorus and the Hot Brass Band, New York music director Steven Mitchell brought together the ensemble for some Broadway classics, as well as the first-ever performance of "The Optometric Song of Eye Diseases."

Earlier in the week, a raucous crowd cheered Michigan College of Optometry on to victory in the 25th annual Varilux® Optometry Student BowlTM, sponsored by Essilor, as optometry student Evan Andrews won the coveted crystal trophy, and Southern College of Optometry took home the "Spirit Award" for most energetic and outlandish representation.

Read more about the pomp and circumstance, and entertaining history of the Optometry Student Bowl from past winners themselves in the June 2016 edition of AOA Focus (member login required).

The buzz about Optometry's Meeting
Couldn't make it to Boston? Although there's no substitute for the real thing, you can still catch a glimpse of the profession's premier event through the eyes of those experiencing Optometry's Meeting firsthand.

Visit aoa.org/news to review daily news coverage and photos, and see what your colleagues had to say with #OM2016 on AOA's dedicated social media page. And start planning now for Optometry's Meeting 2017 in Washington, D.C., June 21-25.

July 6, 2016

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