Students join the fight for optometry’s future
If legislation changes, our rights and roles as optometrists can change overnight.
Advocacy is how the AOA fights for the future of optometry. Students, who have a clear stake in that future, are increasingly involved in the fight.
In September, more than 250 members of the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) and the AOA traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in AOA's Congressional Advocacy Conference. More recently, in a video jointly produced by the AOSA and OptometryStudents.com, students and practitioners shared their perspective on advocacy and the issues that face the profession.
"It's really important for us to lobby for the profession," said Jennifer Diamond, a conference participant and third-year optometry student at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, in the video. "If legislation changes, our rights and roles as optometrists can change overnight."
The video project marks the first formal collaboration between the AOSA and OptometryStudents.com and signals the importance of advocacy to students.
However, it's not the only sign of involvement. The AOSA is the fourth-largest AOA affiliate in terms of AOA-PAC contributions. At six schools of optometry, more than 20 percent of students contribute to the PAC.
The motivation for increased student involvement is clear. "I'd like the ability to practice to the fullest extent of what I've learned in school, and I'd like that for all optometrists," said AOSA President James Deom, a fourth-year student at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University.