Optometry’s Future Focus of Fall Board Meeting

Photo: Diane Reich

Far-reaching decisions around funding a national optometric education awareness campaign and participation in the governance of the profession’s continuing education accreditation program were among the ground-breaking decisions made by the ASCO Board of Directors at its recent meeting on Nov. 6 in San Antonio.

ASCO has embarked on a highly targeted public awareness campaign, Optometry Gives Me Life, designed to raise the visibility of optometry as a career goal of choice, favorably positioning the profession in the competitive health profession education field. During its meeting, the ASCO Board of Directors agreed to a special dues assessment that will enable the launch of the campaign in early 2019. Optometry Gives Me Life will reach college aged students who have expressed an interest in a STEM or health profession, yet may not be considering optometry as an option. In a vibrant, lively and engaging way, the campaign showcases young Doctors of Optometry with special focus on their area of practice as well as their life outside of optometry. The campaign will utilize significant social media outreach, as well as a distinct website that will provide the user with in-depth but easily digestible information about life as an optometrist and how to pursue a degree. More details about this campaign will be provided in future issues of Eye on Education.

The Board also agreed to participate with the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry and the American Academy of Optometry in a Governing Committee for the Council on Optometric Education, leading the profession’s continuing education accreditation process. A formal Memorandum of Understanding was considered and approved by the ASCO Board.

Additionally, the ASCO Board voted to host a day-long, invite-only program, OPENING OUR EYES: A Discussion on the Future of Optometric Education, slated for March 2019.

Other important actions taken at the Board meeting were:

  • An update provided by NBEO President, Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, on activities of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and its exam pass rate processes.
  • Approval of the FY18 Audit. Approval of comments to AOA, compiled by the Government Affairs Committee, on a draft paper on the educational framework for advanced procedures.
  • Cancellation of the agreement between ASCO and AOA for the provision by AOA of staff support in government affairs activities.
  • Drs. Erich Hinel and Diane Adamczyk provided an update on the American Board of Optometry activities, including its new Continuous Assessment Program.
  • Drs. Darin Paulson, Bill Ratcliff and Ms. Joyce Urbeck of the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) reviewed the standards changes that took effect in July 2017, and their request for feedback on new standards around financial support/funding/sponsorship of programs. ACOE is also considering changes to its annual report template.
  • Dr. Tiffenie Harris provided an update on plans for ASCO’s upcoming 2019 Summer Institute for Faculty Development scheduled for July 14 – 17, 2019.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Walline shared plans for the next ASCO Future Faculty Program in January 2020.
  • James Jorkasky, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research/Alliance for Eye and Vision Research spoke to the Board on advocacy issues happening on Capitol Hill around funding for eye and vision research.
  • Two Corporate Contributors, Dr. Ryan Parker, Director of Professional Education with Essilor and Mr. Mark Maio, Diagnostic Sales and Marketing with Haag-Streit gave presentations.
  • Updates were also given by the ASCO Clinical Affairs and Financial Affairs committees.

ASCO’s next Board Meeting will be held on March 14 in Washington, D.C.