How to serve optometry on federal commissions

You can help ensure optometry's voice is heard in Washington, D.C. The AOA Federal Relations Committee (FRC) is seeking qualified optometrists to serve on federal boards, advisory panels and commissions.

"Our voice can be heard to help the profession, the health care system and ultimately our patients."

"The federal government regularly calls on health care professionals to serve on committees, boards, panels, and councils that oversee or advise on various aspects of health care," said AOA FRC Chair Roger Jordan, O.D. For example, the Affordable Care Act authorized the creation of a number of new panels, boards, and councils--many of which may have a direct impact on the practice of optometry.

The AOA FRC maintains a roster of optometrists who are qualified and who have a desire to serve on government boards. When openings occur, the AOA can nominate optometrists appropriately.

"Over the past several years, the AOA has pulled from this pool of optometrists to submit nominations for various working groups," Dr. Jordan said. "With greater optometric involvement, our voice can be heard to help the profession, the health care system and ultimately our patients."

Requirements for service vary, but they typically include a minimum time commitment, willingness to travel for meetings and a high level of expertise in a specific field.

The areas of expertise can be general, such as contact lenses, economics, epidemiology, health care improvement or workforce issues, Dr. Jordan said. They also can be specific, such as evidence-based recommendations for clinical practice or biostatistics related to ophthalmic clinical trials.

If interested and qualified, AOA members may submit their curriculum vitae to the AOA Washington office, Attn: Federal Relations Committee, 1505 Prince St. Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314, or e-mail Kara Webb at or Dr. Jordan at

Many options to serve

Optometrists may serve in many areas, including:

  • The Food and Drug Administration Ophthalmic Devices Panel
  • The U. S. Preventive Services Taskforce
  • The Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ) National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Other AHRQ workgroups focusing on topics such as prevention quality indicators (PQIs)
  • Various positions on the Office of the National Coordinator Health Information Technology's federal advisory committees
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC)

September 23, 2013

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