AOA Swears in New Leaders, Sets Course

Before the close of the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2017 Optometry’s Meeting, the organization’s new slate of leaders was sworn in. Heading the new team is Christopher J, Quinn, O.D., (pictured) of New Jersey, who was sworn in as the new AOA president. He succeeds Andrea P. Thau, O.D.

Elected Saturday by the House of Delegates to the Board of Trustees were:
President-elect Samuel D. Pierce, O.D., of Alabama.
Vice President Barbara L. Horn, O.D., of South Carolina.
Secretary-Treasurer William T. Reynolds, O.D., of Kentucky.

Re-elected as trustees were Ronald L. Benner, O.D., of Montana, and Jacqueline M. Bowen, O.D., of Colorado. Newly elected to the board was Fred Farias III., O.D., of Texas.

In his inaugural address in the House of Delegates, while calling out and celebrating AOA's "amazing" successes, Dr. Quinn called for continuing the fight for expanded scope of practice for optometry, and also for doctors of optometry to fully embrace their expanding role in health care.
"In order, to meet the needs of our society and health care system, we need to continue to expand our scope of practice both vertically, with advanced procedures and techniques, and horizontally, to address the primary health care needs of our society," Dr. Quinn said. "AOA and our affiliates need to continue to fight to expand.”
The AOA House of Delegates adopted several resolutions on Saturday. Delegates voted to:
  • Adopt an AOA position statement on eye and vision telehealth services, including the case for an in-person, comprehensive eye examination and its strongly held and evidence-based view that telemedicine services are not a substitute for care provided in a doctor's office.
  • Support several recommendations of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, including a nationwide "call to action" to reduce the burden of vision impairment led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; for a coordinated public awareness campaign to encourage eye and vision health, by using the Think About Your Eyes campaign, sponsored in part by the AOA; and a diverse, culturally competent workforce to care for all populations.
  • Extend an invitation to the American Academy of Optometry, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and other interested health professional organizations to endorse the evidence-based clinical guidelines developed by the AOA, and to contribute to the continued development and updates of the AOA clinical practice guidelines.
  • Oppose all changes to policies that would deprioritize care provided through the VA's optometry service, and AOA would support enhanced implementation and expansion of the Veterans Choice program where necessary. In a floor motion, the Armed Forces Optometric Society joined as a co-sponsor to the resolution in a show of support.
  • Support a framework for an independent, inclusive, financially transparent and effective system to accredit optometric continuing education (CE) based on the eight core principles developed, debated and unanimously agreed upon at the profession-wide CE summit in Dallas, TX in September 2016
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