Optometry’s Meeting® day 2 all about wins

Optometry’s Meeting® day 2 all about wins

“'Moving with striking swiftness, overcoming obstacles, advancing on all fronts.' That’s our year in a nutshell.”

Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University are the winners of Thursday night's 25th annual Varilux® Optometry Student BowlTM sponsored by Essilor.

Amid a fanfare of state optometric association flags, the 119th session of the House of Delegates was called to order on day 2 of Optometry's Meeting® in Boston, Massachusetts.

In his address Thursday, Executive Director Jon Hymes described the organization as moving in the right direction. Not only has attendance for the 2016 Optometry's Meeting increased, but also advocacy on behalf of the AOA.

Hymes noted several successes and cited a reference in a May 2016 article on the popular internet news service Buzzfeed that called the AOA a "lobbying force" opposing Opternative on the state and national level with "striking swiftness."

"'Moving with striking swiftness, overcoming obstacles, advancing on all fronts,'" he recalled. "That's our year in a nutshell."

He added, "We're a hard-working bunch, determined to support the work of AOA volunteers and move forward when others are unable to. It's no exaggeration to tell you that we're all in 24/7/365. And, together with the leaders in this room and at the direction of Dr. Steven A. Loomis and the AOA officers and trustees, this organization made quite a difference over the past year."

The priorities going forward in serving and attracting new members include: advocacy, continuing education, practice tools and promoting optometry.

"This doesn't happen without all of you and without the AOA being determined, opportunistic, relentless and as well led as it is," Hymes said.

Among Thursday's other highlights:

TAYE exceeds expectations
AOA President Steven A. Loomis, O.D., and Martin Bassett, chairman of The Vision Council—one of the sponsors of the TAYE campaign—provided members with an update on the Think About Your Eyes (TAYE) campaign. Dr. Loomis called TAYE "by far, the strongest and most effective consumer campaign we've ever had in the profession and optical industry."

The campaign, which launched in 2013, includes radio and television spots and online ads at peak hours of the day and in popular media outlets. TAYE led to:

  • 828,000 additional eye exams in 2015
  • Double the number of eye exams from before the campaign's launch
  • Over 1.5 million additional patients with previously undiagnosed eye disease uncovered over the past two years

"We're excited about what we've been able to accomplish so far and would love to do even more with even more of you on board," Dr. Loomis said. "We have a powerful opportunity right in front of us, and I encourage all of you to help us grasp it."

Strength in numbers
In his presentation Thursday, Curtis Ono, O.D., chair of the Affiliate Relations and Membership Group and chair of the Membership Development Committee, talked about AOA's efforts to grow. There is strength in numbers.

"Similar to other areas like advocacy, third party or public awareness, in the area of membership, we—you and the AOA—are better together," Dr. Ono said.

The Membership Development Committee has designed a new marketing strategy it will pilot over a six-month period in the states of Georgia and Minnesota. The strategy involves quickly and nimbly customizing messages and events to reach potential members. One key message—AOA: United in possibilities.

 "The most effective tool for getting a new member is making a personal connection," Dr. Ono said.

AOA members are already doing this by making personal phone calls, inviting students to serve on committees, and hosting networking events.

Award recipients celebrated
David McBride, executive director of the Nebraska Optometric Association (NOA), was named recipient of the Virgil Deering Award given to the AOA's outstanding executive director. Under McBride's direction, the NOA has nearly doubled its membership and helped start a leadership program for young members. It also has overseen significant public policy or statutory changes that benefited the profession.

Kerry Beebe, O.D., from Brainerd, Minnesota, was recognized with the 2016 Dr. W. David Sullins Jr. InfantSEE® Award. The award goes to a doctor of optometry who has made significant contributions to the profession or to his/her community through outstanding community service involving the InfantSEE program. Last year alone, his practice, Brainerd Eyecare Center, submitted more than 115 infant assessments.

Optometric showdown
Michigan College of Optometry (MCO) at Ferris State University hoisted the coveted crystal trophy in victory Thursday night at the 25th annual Varilux® Optometry Student BowlTM sponsored by Essilor. Evan Andrews, of MCO, earned bragging rights for his school. The "Spirit Award," honoring the school with the most energy, greatest costumes and flashiest entrance, was captured by Southern College of Optometry. The highly competitive, high-speed test of optometric intellect is one of the highlights of Optometry's Meeting, attracting cheering students and optometrist alums alike.

Connect with Optometry's Meeting daily
Couldn't make it to Boston? Although there's no substitute for the real thing, you can catch a glimpse of Optometry's Meeting and stay engaged with the latest happenings via AOA's online coverage.

Visit aoa.org/news for daily news coverage and photos. And see all that's trending at #OM2016 on AOA's dedicated social media page.

July 1, 2016

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