Optometry’s Meeting® changes venue, hones leader-focused programming
Adapting. Overcoming. Advancing. That’s the epitome of how optometry approached the extraordinary COVID-19 public health crisis in 2020 and a guide for how Optometry’s Meeting® safely returns in 2021.
Two years apart is a long time for a profession that thrives on collegiality, which is why, after careful assessment of the current public health situation, the AOA and AOSA are committed to safely and deliberately hosting Optometry’s Meeting, June 24-26, 2021. Nonetheless, the profession’s premier meeting will look a bit different this year not only as part of an all-out commitment to attendees’ health and safety, but also as Optometry’s Meeting hones in on what the AOA and its members do best—leadership on behalf of the profession that moves us all forward.
“It’s finally time that we come together, convening our optometry community and leaders for Optometry’s Meeting 2021 to celebrate the incredible resilience and compassion demonstrated by our members, as well as look forward and plan for an even brighter future,” says William T. Reynolds, O.D., AOA president. “Let me be the first to assure you that the AOA is taking the appropriate steps to ensure we can do this with the utmost health and safety in mind.”
In addition to the exceptional continuing education (CE) and professional development as well as distinguished networking opportunities that attendees have come to expect from Optometry’s Meeting, here is what else is in store for the 2021 meeting:
Given the evolving public health situation and individual states’ reopening guidance, the AOA Board of Trustees approved relocation of Optometry’s Meeting 2021 from the original Anaheim, California, location to Denver, Colorado, opting to keep the existing June 24-26 dates. This location change reflects an extensive review of not only potential venues but also the reopening statuses of various communities with Denver and the Colorado Convention Center selected for its exceptional health and safety measures.
The Colorado Convention Center is 5-Star Certified by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, a designation that recognizes the facility’s safety protocols exceed current state and local public health order requirements. Additionally, the convention center has received distinctions from ASM Global and GBAC STAR™, the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities.
As Optometry’s Meeting eagerly welcomes back friends and colleagues to help chart the profession’s future, the AOA and AOSA recognize that COVID-19 is still a perpetual reality and we must all do our part to ensure health and safety. Mindful of the latest recommendations and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Optometry’s Meeting will employ extra health and safety precautions in addition to abiding by all public health requirements mandated by state and local authorities.
In addition to facility cleaning protocols that exceed state and local requirements, Optometry’s Meeting will adhere to recommendations on face coverings, social distancing and a hands-free approach where possible. As proper hand hygiene remains one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of pathogens and infections, hand sanitizing stations will be positioned throughout the event space and self-scanning of badges will be possible via free-standing detectors.
Safety remains the utmost priority at Optometry’s Meeting, and the AOA and AOSA will ensure the appropriate steps are taken to allow the profession to safely gather once again.
Optometry’s Meeting truly distinguishes itself from other industry or trade conferences as the place where optometry’s leaders convene to advance the profession forward—be it the AOA’s House of Delegates and the emphasis on professional advocacy, or the progressive, industry-leading CE and professional development that serves to prepare doctors, staff and students for full-scope, contemporary practice. This year’s meeting is no less esteemed.
Incorporating the AOA volunteers’ annual work meeting, known as Leaders Summit, into the conference schedule is a first for Optometry’s Meeting, but it reinforces the valuable input and direction that members provide in orienting the AOA to best support the profession. This alignment of leading volunteers and subject matter experts, concurrent to AOA’s House of Delegates, ensures a meeting-of-the-minds atmosphere where optometry—and what it takes to move the profession forward—remains foremost.
Reinforcing that aim is the high-quality and intentional CE and professional development selection at Optometry’s Meeting. Consider a range of doctor, paraoptometric or integrated educational opportunities for 2021 that span myopia management or systemic diseases to more advanced surgical procedures courses that prepare practices for the scope of tomorrow. Likewise, choose from more topical discussions, including COVID-19 and ocular implications, optometry’s role in population health, or diversity and inclusion in optometry. While attendees can expect the same exceptional level of education at Optometry’s Meeting 2021, new this year is how attendees may choose to engage it.
To offer a worry-free experience, a hybrid version of select education and professional development courses will be available for those seeking to attend Optometry’s Meeting virtually. Offered both in-person and via live broadcast, hybrid education grants the flexibility to tune in and learn from the comfort of your home or practice. Such is the case, this combination of in-person and virtual learning continues to drive modernization of the AOA’s year-round educational opportunities.
Registration, housing portals launching early in April
The return of Optometry’s Meeting is indeed exciting, but the AOA asks for members’ and partners’ continued patience as the meeting pivots to Denver, June 24-26. As Optometry’s Meeting registration and housing portals become available in early April, the AOA will provide the latest information. In the meantime, submit your email for immediate notification when meeting registration becomes available.
The AOA House of Delegates got underway on the second day of Optometry’s Meeting® with reports from the AOA president and executive director on the state of the association.
Meeting adjourns after four days of expert-led continuing education, important association business and invigorating networking by nearly 4,000 doctors of optometry, optometric students and paraoptometrics in Chicago.