New 2019-2020 AOA officers and trustees take oath of office
New AOA President Barbara L. Horn, O.D., of South Carolina, and other members of the AOA's Board of Trustees were sworn into office Saturday, June 22, after elections during Optometry's Meeting® 2019 in St. Louis.
The elections took place in the AOA House of Delegates as four days of Optometry's Meeting neared its close. The Board of Trustees helps establish AOA policy and advocates for the profession of optometry, both in state and federal governments, to help broaden optometry's scope of practice, protect and defend the profession, and expand the public's access to quality eye health and vision care.
"There is one clear theme in this important work we are doing to uphold care and patients," Dr. Horn said in her inaugural address. "We have power when we work together, as one, which is why I am so passionate about membership."
Members of the 2019-2020 Board of Trustees are:
American Optometric Association's executive committee
President: Barbara L. Horn, O.D. (South Carolina)
President-elect: William T. Reynolds, O.D. (Kentucky-newly elected)
Vice President: Robert C. Layman, O.D. (Ohio-newly elected)
Secretary-Treasurer: James P. DeVleming, O.D. (Washington-newly elected)
Immediate Past President: Samuel D. Pierce, O.D. (Alabama)
Ronald L. Benner, O.D. (Montana-continuing to serve)
Jacqueline Bowen, O.D. (Colorado-continuing to serve)
Steven T. Reed, O.D. (Mississippi-re-elected)
Lori L. Grover, O.D., Ph.D. (Illinois-re-elected)
Teri K. Geist, O.D. (Nebraska-newly elected)
Terri A. Gossard, O.D, M.S. (Ohio-newly elected)
Doctors of optometry: Keepers of the flame
In her inaugural address, Dr. Horn called the changing landscape in health care an epic moment for the profession of optometry. Health care is experiencing dramatic shifts in regulations, care delivery, technology and doctor-patient engagement, she observed.
In the past, in the face of change, doctors of optometry dared to charge a fee for their services and boldly blazed across the country in an effort to advance care by modernizing legislation, Dr. Horn said. AOA members carry that flame forward today, she added.
And as they have always done, members will use their insights and strategy to navigate the changes, she said.
"It is our collective power that makes optometry—and our flame—so strong, which is why I am resolute on moving forward as one profession, with one voice," Dr. Horn said. "One AOA. As leaders, we are all keepers of optometry's flame.
"Our membership is strong, but we need all doctors and future doctors to join in and get engaged," she said.
Big plans for 2020
Dr. Horn laid out multiple actions the AOA is marshalling to take on challenges and challengers in the year ahead, including, the AOA's new 2020 initiative: #2020EyeExam. The initiative will encourage Americans to make 2020 the year they schedule an in-person, comprehensive eye exam with their doctor of optometry.
The initiative includes:
- Enlisting visionary employers to make a pledge to build understanding and support for eye exams among their workforces. Already enlisted are the National Down Syndrome Society, Domino's Pizza, Rite Aid and Johnson & Johnson Vision.
- Through its First Practice Initiative, continuing to support affiliates in their efforts to modernize state practice acts to expand patient access, ensure continuity of patient care, and keep the practice and profession of optometry on the leading edge.
- Reaching out to a range of health care professionals to support doctor-to-doctor communication and collaboration.
- Unveiling a national media campaign called "Start with Eye" that will be directed at caregivers for children and adults. The campaign will underscore the essentialness of in-person, comprehensive eye exams.
- Revamping the AOA's website, aoa.org, so that it is more intuitive and state-of-the-art.
In June, the AOA House of Delegates approved changes to the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education that increased the number of members on its board from 11 to 13. The council also announced the passing of the baton to new leadership.
AOA partners with actor, producer, singer and gamer, Jordan Fisher to bring awareness to healthy screen time practices and encourage patients to be seen in person by an AOA doctor of optometry for quality eye care.