AOA’s House of Delegates Adopts Several Resolutions at Optometry’s Meeting

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DENVER—The American Optometric Association wrapped up its annual Optometry’s Meeting on Sunday, June 24, after a busy week of activity and events. On Saturday, AOA’s House of Delegates approved several resolutions before the 121st Congress of the AOA adjourned. Among the adopted resolutions, the delegates voted to urge states' drivers' licensing requirements that include sufficient vision screenings and to establish an AOA Education Center. The latter resolution emboldens the AOA Education Center Committee to deliver integrated, high-quality continuing education (CE) and content based on data-driven standards that align with the eight principles of CE education as agreed upon in Resolution 1998, and continue establishing AOA as the leader in the delivery of post-graduate education in partnership with affiliates to AOA members, according to AOA’s announcement.

Also, the delegates voted to support bolstering optometric education. Consistent with letters issued to the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) by AOA's Board of Trustees, the association said it affirms its support for fair, verifiable application of accreditation standards, including those of new programs, and for making full use of all information available relevant to student outcomes. AOA also called on optometric stakeholders to strengthen the optometric education enterprise to protect optometry's future.

The delegates voted to commit AOA to the nationwide opioid response, and noted that AOA will collaborate with federal health care stakeholders to assist in the nationwide opioid addiction response, and to better integrate doctors of optometry within health care and community systems to reduce opioid related harm.

Two other resolutions that were adopted by the delegates: urging licensing exam entities to reform exams and directing the association to call on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) to adopt valid, reliable reforms to its Part III exam to place greater emphasis on cognitive skills, interpersonal communication and clinical decision-making in standard and novel patient encounters, and in turn less emphasis on testing motor skills; and to reform the nominating process for AOA's Nominating Committee. The latter proposal will be addressed by encouraging affiliate associations to propose candidates to the AOA's Nominating Committee who are past presidents or current board members of their associations, given their extensive knowledge of pertinent issues facing the profession.

In addition, AOA president Christopher Quinn, OD, in his farewell address said he believes the association is strong and growing stronger, according to an AOA announcement. He characterized the past 12 months as a successful period in which AOA recorded several important achievements. “We've seen membership increasing,” Quinn stated at Saturday’s session.

“We've had multiple advocacy victories on the state and federal level. We've had regulatory victories recognizing the importance of optometric care,” he added. “We have a PR program that has never been stronger or more successful. And we have continued development of tools to enhance education research and support members.”

Unprecedented challenges remain, however, Quinn noted. Among these are threats to the profession and patient access to care on various fronts, including the regulatory side, unscrupulous online contact lens sellers online and abuses by powerful vision plans, the AOA announcement noted.

Quinn said AOA will continue to uphold the standard-of-care banner of comprehensive eye examinations. “We'll fight to make sure nothing stands between the care you provide and the patients who need that care,” he added.