Profession leaders energized to make a difference

Profession leaders energized to make a difference

Attendees network between special sessions at the 2016 Presidents' Council in Albuquerque, New Mexico. .

Optimists make a difference.

It goes beyond simply having a knack for finding the positives in a bleak circumstance; optimists make a difference because they're realists—not only the first to identify a problem, but also the first to take action.

It was a valuable opportunity for volunteers and staff to hear firsthand updates and takeaways on priority issues.

There's no coincidence these are all character traits of great leaders, and AOA's devoted volunteers and affiliate staff.

Before a record attendance of more than 180 optometric leaders at the 2016 Presidents' Council meeting, Jan. 14-16, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, keynote speaker Terry Paulson, Ph.D., urged attendees subscribe to the optimist's outlook on challenges: Visualize opportunity where most see an obstacle.

That's a message that rang true with affiliates tasked with keeping in mind the meeting's theme, "leading from good to great," said Chris Wroten, O.D., meeting moderator.

"I never cease to be amazed by the quality of the leadership our optometry associations are blessed with each year, and am always energized by their dedication, passion and enthusiasm for their patients and for our profession," Dr. Wroten said.

Updating the profession's leaders
Beyond the networking opportunities afforded to volunteers and staff of state affiliates, the Armed Forces Optometric Association and the American Optometric Student Association, President's Council gave optometry's leaders another chance to directly interact with AOA on important issues and initiatives affecting the profession.

In breakout workshop sessions, affiliates cycled through one-on-one discussions with AOA pertaining to pertinent advocacy and third party issues, while they also participated in courses designed to optimize affiliate membership.

Steven A. Loomis, O.D., AOA president, recalls his first Presidents' Council as a valuable learning experience for rising through the ranks of volunteer leadership—something the meeting continues to deliver.

"Presidents' Council is such an important meeting, and this most recent one lived up to all imaginable expectations," Dr. Loomis says. "It was a valuable opportunity for volunteers and staff to hear firsthand updates and takeaways on priority issues. I'd like to thank Dr. Wroten and the committee who made this possible."

The topics discussed include:

  • Enroll now for AOA MORE. Doctors who enroll in AOA MORE (Measures and Outcomes Registry for Eyecare) by Monday, Feb. 29, will meet a public health objective for specialized registry reporting. For program year 2016, EHR Incentive Program participants are required to meet two public health objectives—unless an exclusion applies—and doctors' enrollment in AOA MORE demonstrates "active engagement" in a specialized registry. Click here to enroll in AOA MORE today.

  • Updates on possible legislation. AOA State Government Relations Center informed leaders of the potential for new, 1-800 Contacts-backed, anti-unilateral pricing policy (UPP) legislation in up to 18 states. Anti-UPP proponents could focus on extending contact lens expiration dates, un-branding contact lenses and possibly incorporate online or app-based services. The AOA is currently providing direction and assistance in these states.

  • Think About Your Eyes (TAYE). Jon Torrey, director of professional relations for TAYE, provided affiliates with an update on the public awareness, national ad campaign that's reached more than 150 million Americans since July 2013. The campaign circulates four key messages about digital eye strain, eye disease, children's vision and overall eye health, with a fifth ad on presbyopia launching at January's end—all of which carry messaging that tells consumers, "brought to you by the American Optometric Association." Twenty-eight states are participating in TAYE at the leadership level, offering their membership basic practice listings on the TAYE website.

January 21, 2016

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