Profession Leaders Focus on the Future of Optometry

Representatives from the five national organizations representing optometry recently called for an upcoming summit on the future of the profession.

Meeting in St. Louis in early September, these representatives from the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), the American Optometric Association (AOA), the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO), the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) discussed a number of issues, including:

  • The challenges associated with the advent of “super boards,” the effort by at least 6 states to combine their various health profession regulatory boards;
  • Emerging proposals to restructure the veterans’ health care system being developed by VA officials and Members of Congress, which would impact the delivery of eye health and vision care;
  • Approval by both the AAO and ASCO boards of directors of a plan to establish sub-specializations in optometry;
  • The latest statistics about applicants to optometry schools and colleges;
  • Accreditation of optometric continuing education;
  • Review of AOA’s Position Statement Regarding Eye and Vision Telehealth Services; and
  • Organizational planning for an upcoming summit on the future of the profession.

The group, officially known as the Inter-Organizational Communication and Cooperation Committee (IOCCC), consisted of:

  • ASCO: President David Damari; Past President Karla Zadnik; Executive Director Dawn Mancuso.
  • AAO: President-Elect Barbara Caffery; Board member Peter Kollbaum. (Executive Director Lois Schoenbrun was not able to be present due to extreme weather conditions in Florida.)
  • AOA: Board member Robert Layman; Board member James DeVleming; Associate Executive Director Renee Brauns.
  • ARBO: Vice President James Campbell; Board member Coby Ramsey; Executive Director Lisa Fennell.
  • NBEO: President Jill Martinson-Redekkopp; Vice President Elizabeth Hoppe; Interim Executive Director Jill Bryant.

The IOCCC meets once or twice a year, providing a forum for the leadership of these five organizations to discuss strategic issues affecting the entire profession.

The next IOCCC meeting will be held in February, 2018, in Charlotte, North Carolina at the ARBO and NBEO headquarters.