Optometrists Convene at 116th AOA Congress for Annual Meeting

SAN DIEGO—Next year’s slate of officers were selected and inducted during the 116th annual American Optometric Association’s Congress while Optometry’s Meeting was packed with educational opportunities, exhibits of products and services, meetings of professional organizations, social and networking receptions, and a host of other events for the optometrists and other eyecare professionals in attendance.

AOA delegate meetings held at the San Diego Convention Center June 26 to 30 culminated in the induction of incoming AOA president Mitchell T. Munson, OD, of Colorado, and the organization’s new slate of officers—president-elect David A. Cockrell, OD, (Stillwater, Okla.); vice president Steven A. Loomis, OD, (Roxborough Park, Colo.); and secretary-treasurer, Andrea Thau, OD, (New York).

Ronald L. Hopping, OD, MPH, (Houston) assumes the office of immediate past president. Robert Layman, OD, and Greg A. Caldwell, OD, were elected to the AOA Board of Trustees. Other trustees of the AOA continuing to serve are Barb Horn, OD, (Washington, Mich.); Christopher Quinn, OD, (Iselin, N.J.), Sam Pierce, OD, (Trussville, Ala.); and Bill Reynolds, OD, (Richmond, Ky.).

During the 43rd annual American Optometric Students Association (AOSA) Congress, which also took place in conjunction with AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting, Dori Carlson, past president of the AOA, was presented with the AOSA’s Founders Award. She was recognized for her dedication and commitment to students of optometry shown by the 20/20 Tour in which she personally visited all U.S. schools and colleges of optometry to help foster understanding of the importance of belonging to the AOSA and the AOA.

The Essilor-sponsored opening general session on June 27 featured an awards ceremony honoring OD of the Year (Neil Draisin, OD), Young OD of the Year (Sandra Fortenberry, OD, FAAO), Optometric Educator of the Year (Michael J. Earley, OD, PhD) and Paraoptometric of the Year (Amy Godeaux, CPOT). The session also featured the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to Thomas L. Lewis, OD, PhD, and the Apollo Award to U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, (D-Iowa). The session concluded with a keynote presentation by Jose (J.R.) Martinez, Iraq war veteran and burn victim made famous by winning ABC’s Dancing with the Stars season 13.

For the first time in the 22-year history of the annual Essilor-sponsored Varilux Optometry Student Bowl XXII, also held during Optometry’s Meeting, the competition ended with David Zimmerman of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry and Blake Dornstauder of Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry tied for first place. Brandon Prete, representing the University of Waterloo School of Optometry, came in third place.

AOA Excel and Jobson Optical Group presented a half-day event on “The State of Optometry: Present and Future” at the start of Optometry’s Meeting on June 26. Sponsored by VisionWeb and Essilor, the presentation drew upon a wealth of data in a Jobson report commissioned by the AOA to review the current status of optometry and the challenges and opportunities ahead. Presented to a select audience of key opinion leaders in attendance, the report will soon be available for download from the Review of Optometric Business website at www.reviewob.com.

A ribbon cutting and student flash mob opened the exhibit hall the afternoon of June 27. Other activities held during AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting included a half-day session on “Electronic Health Records: The Basics and Beyond,” an evening filled with alumni receptions for many of the optometry schools throughout the country, a paraoptometric awards reception, and numerous other association meetings, educational opportunities and networking events.

Also during AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting, PPG Industries and Hoya Vision Care North America hosted a roundtable of optometrists to discuss the topic of “Engaging with Today’s Parents to Promote Pediatric Vision.” The roundtable participants were Elizabeth Christensen, OD, fellow, College of Optometrists in Vision Development; Paul Alan Harris, OD, associate professor, Southern College of Optometry; Glen T. Steele, OD, FCOVD, FAAO, professor of pediatric optometry, Southern College of Optometry; and Greg Hicks, OD, of Family Eye Care Centers and assistant clinical professor, The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

The group’s moderator was Ann-Marie Lahr, OD, Hoya’s director of education. The conversation was sparked by an online survey conducted for PPG by Lightspeed Research during March 2012 that found that only 41 percent of adult eyeglass wearers with dependent children said they were very satisfied with the amount of education their eyecare professional provided to their child on the proper way to care for their eyeglasses.

During Optometry’s Meeting, John F. Amos, OD, former dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame. Earlier during the week of the event, the AOA launched a redesigned website at www.aoa.org.

Optometry’s Meeting concluded with a 5K race the morning of June 29 and a President’s Reception that evening on the USS Midway, complete with fireworks. Next year’s Optometry’s Meeting will be held in Philadelphia, June 25 to 29. ■

 AOA board executives cut the ribbon on the exhibit hall. 
 Representing AOA’s leadership at an Optometry Cares reception were AOA’s new president, Mitchell T. Munson, OD, (c) flanked by vice president Steven A. Loomis, OD, (l) and president-elect David Cockrell, OD.

  AOA president Ronald L. Hopping, OD, MPH, (l) presented the OD of the Year award to Neil W. Draisin, OD, of the Draisin Vision Group in Charleston, S.C.   President of Pennsylvania College of Optometry for 25 years, Thomas Lewis, OD, PhD, received the AOA’s Distinguished Service Award for his numerous contributions to the profession. 

  For the first time in its history, the Varilux Optometry Student Bowl ended in a tie with David Zimmerman of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Blake Dornstauder of Nova Southeastern University sharing first place.   Richard Wallingford, OD, (l) with Jack Schaeffer, OD, FAAO, at the Optometry Cares reception.

 National Optometry Hall of Fame inductee John F. Amos, OD, (r) former dean of the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry with his wife Catherine Amos and The Vision Council’s Mike Daley.  Ann-Marie Lahr, OD, (c) moderated a panel sponsored by PPG and Hoya about Children and Health Eyes—(l to r) Greg Hicks, OD, Elizabeth Christensen, OD, Glen Steele, OD, and Paul Alan Harris, OD.

 Sponsors of the optometrists’ roundtable discussing “ECPs Can Do More to Educate Parents to Teach Children about Healthy Eyes” included PPG’s Nathan Troxell (c) and Hoya’s Barney Dougher (l) and Ron Barnes.  (L-R) At SUNY College of Optometry’s reception with its president David Heath, OD, were Louisiana Democratic State Senator, David Heitmeir, OD, chairman of health and welfare, and Mario Contaldi, OD.

 (L to R) IDOC’s president/CEO, Mark S. Feder, OD; theRightcontact.com’s president/CEO, Jason E, Compton, OD; and Lily Chin, OD, at the SUNY College of Optometry reception.  Eyefinity held a press conference/reception to introduce Eyefinity EHR, the cloud-based electronic health records solution it launched with Modernizing Medicine.

  Beta users of Uprise shared their experiences with VisionWeb’s new electronic health records software. Shown (l to r) were Tommy Crooks, OD; Lorie Lippiatt, OD; and Kim Castleberry, OD.   At the launch press conference for VisionWeb’s Uprise EHR solution were (l to r) Tom Loveless, VisionWeb CFO and VP business development; AOA’s Joe Ellis, OD; Ken Engelhart, VisionWeb president/CEO; and 4PatientCare’s Jeffrey J. Guterman, MD, MS.