The art of collaboration
Excerpted from page 18 of the June 2015 edition of AOA Focus.
Patience and perseverance create good partnerships, says Satya B. Verma, O.D., an associate professor and assistant director of the externship program at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry/Salus University.
Dr. Verma will put these same traits to the test during his two-year term as president of the National Academies of Practice (NAP), a role he assumed in January. He is the second doctor of optometry to achieve this position at NAP, which represents 14 health care professions, including audiology, dentistry and medicine.
In an excerpt from an interview with AOA Focus, Dr. Verma discusses the give-and-take of establishing partnerships with other professions, and offers his perspective on the eye and vision issues that affect older Americans.
What are your goals for advancing the profession as the president of NAP?
Optometry is just one of the 14 professions in NAP. Our role is to make sure optometry is seen as one of the partners in the delivery of health care services to U.S. citizens. We want to make sure that other health care professions fully understand the profession and what we do. And at the same time it's a give-and-take—because we are not always aware of the scope and breadth of practice of other health care professions. NAP puts us on the same platform with other health care professions, since it includes medicine, dentistry, nursing and other key health professions. People who are chosen to represent their individual professions are those who think beyond their own profession.
Will optometry's growing involvement in medical care help improve relations with other medical professions?
Absolutely. But don't forget, the perception that we are only doing refractions and fitting glasses and contact lenses has had a long history—even though we've been treating eye diseases for the past 30 years. I know AOA has been doing its job in getting the message out to the masses, including other professions. The fact that we are now involved in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease has definitely helped us in being equal partners with other professions.
Having served as one of the longest-term board members of the National Council on Aging, how do you think eye care for elderly Americans could improve in this country?
Thanks to our efforts, Medicare and some of the other third-party programs now consider ODs as physicians for eye care services. We are seeing a fair share of Medicare patient populations now. The problem is more in the area of patients who are institutionalized—whether it is nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, or in assisted living. Reaching out to those people will definitely advance the delivery of eye care for the older population.
Candidates announce 2023 election bids for AOA Board of Trustees
Learn more about the doctors of optometry seeking to serve on the 2023-2024 AOA Board of Trustees before their election at Optometry’s Meeting®, June 21-24, in Washington, D.C.
Optometry’s Meeting® announces keynote speaker, special events for Washington, D.C.
Early-bird registration is available through Friday, March 31, so lock-in your low, AOA-member rate for four days of industry-leading education, networking, practice solutions and entertainment in the nation’s capital.
Developing tomorrow’s leaders, today
In 2017, the AOA and the American Optometric Student Association launched an ambitious initiative to bring 2,000+ students and newly graduated doctors of optometry to Washington, D.C., to promote career readiness and success, foster professional aspirations and develop the next generation. Called AOA+, the initiative is returning to Optometry’s Meeting® 2023, bigger and bolder than before. Six years later, what do those inaugural participants say about AOA+ as a catalyzing moment in their careers?