Four Optometric Organizations Form Committee and Meet to Build a Formal Working Relationship

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DALLAS—Leaders of the American Optometric Association (AOA), Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO), Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) held a facilitated two-day meeting here to come to a better understanding of each organization’s operating realities, vision for the future and stakeholder requirements. Organized as the Inter-Organizational Communications and Cooperation Committee (IOCC), the group of optometric organization leaders came together to build an enhanced and formal working relationship with the goal to better serve their respective stakeholders and the general public’s desire for high quality eyecare, according to a statement the committee released last week.

The IOCCC held telephone conferences this past summer to develop goals, agendas and operating guidelines for their first face-to-face meeting. The committee anticipates that its next in-person meeting will take place sometime later this summer following the annual meetings of ARBO, ASCO and AOA, all in late June.

According to the statement, the committee’s goals are: To build a more structured environment for the exchange of ideas; to enhance the systematic dialogue and working relationships between the organizations in an open environment to facilitate synergism among the organizations; and to enhance regular lines of inter-organizational communications for constructive conversations. “The desire is to come to a common understanding of issues seen through the different stakeholders’ lenses and possible strategies to find synergistic solutions,” that statement said.

Among the topics discussed were: organizational independence, authority and responsibility; multi-organizational board membership; financial, strategic and organizational structures and alliances; maintenance of licensure; accreditation of continuing education; board certification and maintenance of certification. “The group agreed that an ongoing, open and honest dialogue between their groups will prove beneficial for each of their organizations, members and the general public,” said the statement.

The following individuals represented their respective organizations—AOA: Mitchell T. Munson, OD, AOA president; Chris Quinn, OD, AOA board of trustees; William Reynolds, OD, AOA board of trustees. ARBO: Ernie Schlabach, OD, ARBO president; Michael J. O’Hara, JD, PhD, ARBO board, Nebraska Board of Optometry, professor, finance, banking, and real estate department, College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Greg Moore, OD, ARBO board. ASCO: Jennifer Smythe, OD, ASCO president, dean, Pacific University College of Optometry (Oregon); David Heath, OD, MEd, ASCO immediate past-president, president, SUNY College of Optometry; Richard W. Phillips, OD, ASCO secretary/treasurer, president, Southern College of Optometry. NBEO: Nancy Peterson-Klein, NBEO past president, Michigan Board of Optometry; Jack E. Terry, OD, PhD, NBEO executive director; Alan J. King, OD, NBEO president.