Time is running out: Answer the AOA's call for courses

July 12, 2021
The deadline has been extended to Aug. 22 for submitting applications for presenting courses at Optometry’s Meeting® and other educational events. What is the AOA looking for in courses, workshops or other learning opportunities? Read on to learn more and submit an application.
Call for Courses

The AOA is prioritizing the profession’s access to full-scope, contemporary optometric education by expanding learning opportunities and providing a curriculum of progressive, integrated topics.

And AOA members can contribute to this transformation by answering a call for courses for the 125th Annual AOA Congress & 52nd Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting® set for June 15-19, 2022, in Chicago, Illinois, and other educational events.

All applications to present courses must be submitted online by Aug. 22, 2021.

The AOA is committed to modernizing and expanding the formats its continuing education and professional development take by supporting doctors of optometry, their staffs and future eye doctors.

“As the role of doctors of optometry in the medical side of our profession has evolved in recent years—especially as we have incorporated more technology to aid in the diagnosis and earlier interventions/treatments for our patients—the need to keep up with higher levels of understanding/learning is only appropriate,” says George Veliky, O.D., co-chair of the AOA Education Center Committee.

“It means making a commitment to learning throughout the year, using the CE events as the platform from which doctors of optometry can continue to grow their understanding of whatever condition or topic is being discussed,” Dr. Veliky says. “This change in philosophy, regarding year-round education, also ties in the need to not only have doctors of optometry but also staff be more prepared to manage the greater complexities in our patients. Joint education with doctors of optometry and paraoptometrics will enable doctors of optometry to better utilize their staff, making them more efficient providers.”

The feedback to the change in philosophy was positive from attendees at Optometry’s Meeting, says Brad Lane, O.D., MBA, M.Ed., co-chair of the AOA Education Center Committee.

“Although COVID-19 restrictions caused the Education Center Committee to reduce the number of hours of professional development offered, we were still able to provide unique learning opportunities,” Dr. Lane says. “Several ‘best practices’ panel discussions were well received. During these courses, a panel of experts spoke to current topics that are relevant to clinical care. Each session included plenty of time for audience participation and questions. The response to these forums was all positive. We also were able to provide a ‘small group’ learning opportunity for the implementation of advanced procedures. Attendees were able to converse with experts in the field who are currently practicing to the fullest scope of practice in their states.”

Answer AOA’s call for courses

Doctors can help support the paradigm shift in education by taking advantage of AOA continuing education and professional development and by submitting courses that will enrich learning. The 2022 call for courses is an integral step in ensuring that AOA can tap into a variety of content, topics and experiences from diverse membership.

What is the AOA looking for in courses, workshops or other learning opportunities? 

  • Interprofessional collaboration. Educational courses that promote collaboration for the sake of better understanding and learning, e.g., a doctor of optometry and endocrinologist discussing diabetes and/or thyroid dysfunction.
  • Interactive style. Educational courses that utilize different lecture techniques, such as case study, small group rotations, practical demonstrations and problem-based learning.
  • Integrative content. Educational courses that reflect cultural and social themes in public health and communication techniques necessary to effectively assist all optometric patients.
  • Interdependent learning. Educational courses that promote joint, doctor/paraoptometric learning, e.g., systemic diseases, patient education regarding nutritional choices for hypertensive or diabetic patients, OCT workshops, or billing and coding for diagnostic testing.
  • Innovative topics. Educational courses that involve the social determinants of health, the implementation of health information technology or other innovations in optometric patient care.

Additionally, the AOA is placing an emphasis on paraoptometric assistant/technician staff categories that include: 

  • History taking in EHR.
  • Office management.
  • Chairside assisting (YAG and SLT).
  • Pediatric eye exams.
  • Billing and coding (especially ICD changes and procedures).
  • Hands-on workshops.
  • TBI/low vision.
  • Vision therapy tools.
  • Corneal topography and specular microscope.
  • Fundus photo.

Questions can be directed to educationcenter@aoa.org.

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