One calling, one cause, one profession—optometry's nascent leaders have an opportunity to build upon a professional legacy that solidified doctors of optometry as America's primary eye care providers, now and into the future. But it's an opportunity that can't be shouldered alone.
Optometry is better and stronger together. That's why the AOA welcomes more than 1,500 of the country's brightest students and new doctors for a one-of-a-kind experience intended not only to engage this generation in the broader optometric community, but also to impart crucial tools for jump-starting professional success. The formula is simple: AOA plus you equals a brighter future for patients and optometry.
The inaugural AOA+, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision, AOAExcel® and Essilor, kicks off Optometry's Meeting®, June 21, in Washington, D.C., and offers a unique primer in professional advocacy, career readiness and crucial networking opportunities that will help new doctors of optometry starting on their career path.
AOA on Capitol Hill
From Capitol Hill to the state legislature, AOA and its affiliates fight for doctors' right to practice and access patients, so AOA+ gives attendees all the tools and hands-on training to get involved in advocacy. And it starts at the top.
AOA+ opens with a stirring rally on Capitol Hill, where the profession's emergent leaders will hear from optometry's champions in Congress, commemorating the occasion with the largest optometry selfie ever. Over the course of the week, attendees will visit their members of Congress with experienced doctors of optometry to see how words become action and ensure the profession is heard.
These Hill Meetings are a staple of AOA advocacy, instrumental in keeping optometry at the table when it comes to federal action, and AOA+ arms attendees with an experiential know-how that they can take back to their own schools and practices.
But advocacy is only one component to AOA+; learn financial best practices to alleviate those student loans. Also join the Leadership Link, a networking and mentoring program joining students and new doctors to established, connected doctors of optometry in interest areas ranging from advocacy or public health to research and health IT.
"No matter your professional interests, AOA has a place for you and AOA+ is your chance to take the next step in your journey," says Andrea P. Thau, O.D., AOA president.
"AOA+ is truly a first-of-its-kind event for students and new doctors—an experience that will engage you in what it means to you and your profession to be a part of the optometric community and AOA."
In a virtual kick-off, the AOA launches Leadership Institute with 130 doctors of optometry from across the country. A project of the AOA Leadership Development Committee, the Institute is a yearlong program designed to grow and support the next generation of leaders in the profession.
At the 2021 Leaders Summit, AOA-member volunteers set priorities for the year and launched new initiatives to lead the profession forward.