AOA leaders reinforce optometry’s pro-patient message in nation’s capital
AOA's leaders took a literal boots-on-the-ground approach to advocacy last week, discussing optometry's priority issues among authorities on and off Capitol Hill.
Personally meeting with legislators and regulators across Washington, D.C., AOA President Steven A. Loomis, O.D., and Immediate Past President David A. Cockrell, O.D., continued to deliver on AOA's mission to advocate for the profession and serve doctors of optometry in meeting the eye care needs of the public.
That mission started in the West Wing, where Drs. Loomis and Cockrell met with a White House official in the President's Office of Management and Budget about optometry's essential primary care role and other AOA federal priorities.
Up Pennsylvania Avenue, AOA's leaders then met with Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Georgia), the lead sponsor of the AOA and American Dental Association-backed Dental and Optometric Care Access Act (H.R. 3323). Dr. Loomis let Rep. Carter know that AOA doctors and students will do even more over the months ahead to help build support for H.R. 3323.
For more information on how you can urge your U.S. House member to co-sponsor H.R. 3323, or contact Matt Willette, director of congressional relations in the AOA's Washington Office, at 800.365.2219 or email@example.com.
Dr. Loomis also took the opportunity to meet with his home state senators, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), and urge their support of S. 898-AOA-backed legislation to make doctors of optometry eligible once gain for the National Health Service Corps.
Sen. Bennet, a leading member of the Senate Health Committee, was thanked by Drs. Loomis and Cockrell for joining Sen. Tom Harkin and 12 other U.S. Senators in urging the Department of Health & Human Services to fix its flawed FAQ on the Harkin nondiscrimination law. Sen. Gardner, a newcomer to the U.S. Senate with a strong, pro-optometry record in the U.S. House, also discussed S. 898 with Drs. Loomis and Cockrell and the positive impact the legislation would have on Colorado families.
Finally, AOA's leaders went to the U.S. Post Office headquarters to meet with David H. Reid, M.D., USPS national medical director, to solidify optometry's role as the eye health and vision care authority for postal employees and their dependents nationwide.
Watch a personal message from Dr. Loomis , and view images from the day below.
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.