New Year’s a poignant reminder of challenges before and still to come
New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition about reflecting on the past to build for the future with this bittersweet moment an especially poignant reminder of a difficult 2020. As such a historic year concludes, the AOA’s Board of Trustees reflects on a year of unparalleled challenges and tireless resiliency that made the profession of optometry truly shine.
President William T. Reynolds, O.D.
“My 2021 New Year’s resolution is twofold: The first is to continue to advocate for the profession in Washington, D.C., and around the country for continued COVID-19 relief for our doctors; against predatory vision plan and insurance packages; against attacks on our profession by federal agencies; and to ensure our doctors are able to practice to the full scope of their training and abilities. The second is to continue to support those in the profession who are struggling, through programs such as COVID-19 relief grants and stipends to underrepresented minority students entering the profession.”
President-elect Robert C. Layman, O.D.
“My 2021 New Year’s resolution is to allocate AOA resources among several priorities. We must equip our members to survive and thrive in this rapidly changing health care environment with tools that promote practicing to the fullest scope permitted by state law. We must be the voice of the profession, clarifying to legislators, policymakers, third party payors and the public the range of high-value services we offer. We must assure that patients can access our care and resolve to do our part to collectively advance our beloved profession.”
Vice President James P. DeVleming, O.D.
“For 2021, I resolve to continue to push our profession forward, encouraging us to provide the highest- quality eye and vision care possible in the safest manner possible; to consistently remind all members that what we think is routine care in many cases is life-changing for our patients, so we should be proud of the services we provide, and to continue to help the AOA be the strongest leader of the profession at the federal, state and community level—as without the AOA, 2020 really would have been hell.”
Secretary-Treasurer Ronald L. Benner, O.D.
“For 2021, I first commit to building the AOA into a post-COVID organization that can assist every member with the tools, resources and educational programing needed to succeed in the new normal. Secondly, to advance advocacy efforts so that lawmakers, regulators and third-party payers acknowledge and support the significant care our doctors are delivering (and could be providing if allowed to use their full training) where neither the patient nor the care provided is devalued. And finally, to assist our profession to fully realizing its potential, cementing its place as a trusted primary health care provider in all our communities.”
Immediate Past President Barbara L. Horn, O.D.
“In 2020+1, I am committed to continuing to promote the importance of eye health care, including in-person, comprehensive eye exams, and to advance awareness of doctors of optometry as primary, frontline eye health care providers. Our essential role in health care has been proven and recognized during the pandemic and we need to ensure all Americans understand the critical care we provide. We will continue to support affiliates in advancing their scope of practice and elevate all doctors of optometry to be able to practice the medical care they are educated and trained to deliver. And I will endeavor to be the profession’s advocate—from working to secure COVID-19 relief, grants and vaccination prioritization, to providing thorough resources that help our doctors succeed during this challenging time across our nation. Finally, I resolve to continue to persevere, just as our entire great profession has, and do my part to help improve our nation’s health.”
The AOA wishes all its members, volunteers and affiliate staff good health and warm tidings this holiday season, and may the New Year hold brighter opportunities.
The Atlanta doctor of optometry and civil rights advocate fought to open doors for Black students interested in the profession, including helping to found the National Optometric Association.
James A. Boucher, O.D., 83, founded his practice in Laramie, Wyoming, and served the community for five decades. Dr. Boucher specialized in cornea and contact lenses practice.
The Pennsylvania doctor of optometry practiced for 46 years in Beaver Falls. But Dr. Bennett’s vision had an impact there and beyond.