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About the AOA

American Optometric Association St. Louis office

The American Optometric Association (AOA), founded in 1898, is the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation's health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals and optometry students.

Doctors of optometry take a leading role in patient care with respect to eye and vision care, as well as general health and well-being. As primary health care providers, doctors of optometry have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage ocular disorders, diseases and injuries and systemic diseases that manifest in the eye.

Doctors of optometry provide more than two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. Find a doctor of optometry near you for more information on eye health and vision topics.

Vision and Mission

Vision: The American Optometric Association is the acknowledged leader and recognized authority for eye and vision care in the world.

Mission: Advocate for the profession and serve doctors of optometry in meeting the eye care needs of the public.

AOA entities

The AOA has developed AOA-related entities to provide the best resources to meet the needs of doctors of optometry. These entities include:

AOA also has partnerships with organizations such as Think About Your Eyes (TAYE), InfantSEE® and The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS).

Click on the links to learn more about each of the entities and partnerships and how they support our members.

Staff Leadership

Jon Hymes 

Excutive Director 

Jon HymesJon Hymes, an experienced association executive and health care policy and political strategist, was appointed executive director of the AOA on July 29, 2014. 

Over a 25-year career in Washington, D.C., Hymes has held senior-level policy and management positions on Capitol Hill, in Congressional campaigns and in the private sector. For nine years, he managed the AOA's Washington, D.C., office, the base of operations for its widely recognized federal, state and third-party advocacy teams.

Hymes joined the AOA in 2005 as Washington office director, and was the organization's top lobbyist and advocacy strategist through a period of significant activity in health care policy and notable legislative and regulatory wins for optometry. The AOA has been a strong force for patient access to care and patient safety legislation, including key provisions of the 2010 health care overhaul law. In 2012, the AOA was recognized in a survey of Washington, D.C., insiders for having one of the most effective and respected advocacy operations in the nation's capital. At the 2013 AOA House of Delegates meeting, Jon accepted an award on behalf of his staff colleagues presented by the Southern Caucus that cited the AOA's "tremendous" advocacy achievements.

Hymes spent a decade on Capitol Hill as a Congressional chief of staff and legislative and strategic communications aide. For five years, he advised Rep. Norman Lent of New York, then the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the U.S. House panel with wide-ranging jurisdiction over health care policy. Hymes was selected as a Senator John C. Stennis Congressional Staff Fellow, and chosen to be a leader of Congressional staff delegations on official visits to the Republic of China and the State of Israel.    

A native of Lido Beach, New York, and a former Long Beach Patrol lifeguard, Hymes holds a degree in economics from Syracuse University, where he was a member of the Big East Conference champion swimming team. He resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, Kim, and three children, and is a volunteer for local youth sports programs. He maintains memberships in the New York Congressional Chiefs of Staff Alumni Group, the U.S. House Chiefs of Staff Alumni Association and the American Society of Association Executives.

Renee Brauns

Associate Executive Director 

Renee BraunsRenee Brauns, an experienced association executive, was appointed associate executive director of the AOA on July 29, 2014. 

Over the course of a 20-year career in St. Louis, Brauns has held multiple business management roles in the corporate sector and as a nonprofit executive with the AOA. 

Her AOA career began in 1999, when, while with a national computer company, she was recruited by a former AOA executive. She began with a dual role, managing relationships for the association's Industry Relations Center, leading a period of steady growth, and in the formation of what is now the AOA's Foundation, Optometry Cares®

She continued to advance in leadership roles and was promoted to the newly created executive position of chief operating officer in 2010, with authority over seven groups and centers. In this role she successfully led organization-wide initiatives to expand membership, transform strategic communications programs and improve support services for state associations. She also led the AOA team's collaboration strategy with the profession-boosting Think About Your Eyes public advertising campaign, managed by The Vision Council.  

In 2013, she was honored as one of Vision Monday's Most Influential Women in the Executive Suite for guiding the AOA forward, offering inspired leadership, and achieving the highest levels of performance. She acknowledged her inspiration comes from the steadfast passion of the AOA Board, volunteers, staff and other association/affiliate executives.  

A native of Illinois, she holds a degree in business management from Greenville College and is known for her dedication to AOA's mission of enhancing and advancing the profession of optometry to better meet the eye care needs of the public.  

She is a long-term member of the American Society of Association Executives and the International Association of Optometric Executives. She is a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, and an avid Harley-Davidson® motorcycle rider in her spare time.

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