AOA Elects Officers at 116th Annual Congress While ‘Optometry’s Meeting’ Hosts Numerous Meetings and Events

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SAN DIEGO—The American Optometric Association’s Optometry’s Meeting held at the San Diego Convention Center from June 26 to 30 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.

During the 116th annual AOA Congress, AOA delegate meetings culminated in the induction of incoming AOA president Michael 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 last week 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 Thursday 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, as reported by VMail on Friday June 28.

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 tied for first place, as reported by VMail on Monday July 1. 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 Wednesday 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, as reported by VMail on Friday, June 28.

A ribbon cutting and student flash mob opened the exhibit hall the afternoon of Thursday 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.

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 in the week, the AOA launched a redesigned website. Optometry’s Meeting concluded with a 5K race the morning of Saturday June 29 and a President’s Reception that evening on the USS Midway, complete with fireworks.

Click here for a slideshow of AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting: Stewards of the Profession Lead Optometry Forward at AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting

Next year’s Optometry’s Meeting will be held in Philadelphia, June 25 to 29, for which the organization is already requesting submissions of educational courses.