Ever wonder what a few thousand future optometric leaders rallying on behalf of the profession on Capitol Hill looks like? Ponder no longer—staggering AOA+ numbers could tear up the record books.
There are still 70 days to go before the inaugural AOA+, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision, AOAExcel® and Essilor, on June 21, yet preliminary registration numbers have already surpassed students' record Optometry's Meeting® attendance by nearly 50%, and it's still growing. As of April 6, more than 2,300 registrants planned to join their colleagues in Washington, D.C., for the one-of-a-kind, immersive AOA+ experience.
"Our stupendous AOA+ registration figures underscore that this next generation of doctors of optometry are not only passionate, but also eager to help shape the future of our profession," says AOA President Andrea P. Thau, O.D. "AOA+ is truly an emerging leaders' experience. Our students and young doctors are excited to stand up and be counted alongside AOA as advocates of optometry."
Kicking off Optometry's Meeting, June 21-25, AOA+ offers a unique primer in professional advocacy, invaluable career readiness and financial planning pearls, and advantageous networking opportunities to connect new doctors with the broader optometric community. AOA+ packages together the ever-popular components of AOA's Congressional Advocacy Conference with the unprecedented connection and career-building possibilities afforded by AOA's annual meeting.
"Combining AOA+ with our usual congressional advocacy programming in Washington, D.C., and our profession's premier meeting, further emphasizes how this is one Optometry's Meeting that no one can afford to miss," Dr. Thau says.
And it all starts with a rally on Capitol Hill on June 21, where the profession's emergent leaders will hear from optometry's champions in Congress and AOA advocacy leaders. The full advocacy experience continues throughout the week with AOA on Capitol Hill, as experienced doctors meet with legislators to talk about the policies that matter for patients and doctors.
Next, hear from the AOA+ keynote speaker, financial entrepreneur Alexa von Tobel, as well as a New Doctor Panel discussion on ways to jump-start doctors' careers. Plus, join the Leadership Link, a networking and mentoring program that pairs students and new doctors with established doctors of optometry in interest areas ranging from advocacy or public health to research and health IT.
Read more about this one-of-a-kind, emerging leaders' experience.
AOA+: This is where it all begins
So why should students and new doctors attend AOA+? It's simply too important to miss. The professional knowledge, experiences and connections that AOA+ delivers are such a crucial catalyst for doctors' careers—and, ultimately, benefiting optometry as a whole—that it costs nothing to attend.
AOA+ is about preparing the profession's future and positioning this upcoming generation to take optometry even further. It's a simple formula: AOA plus you equals a brighter future for patients and the profession.
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.