American Optometric Association Names Jon Hymes Interim Executive Director

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Jon Hymes (l) and Renee Brauns.


ST. LOUIS—Following the resignation of Barry Barresi, OD, PhD, (as reported by VMail Dec. 11, 2013), the Board of Trustees of the American Optometric Association (AOA) has named Jon Hymes as interim executive director and Renee Brauns as interim deputy executive director, according to Mitchell T. Munson, OD, AOA president.

The AOA’s lead advocacy strategist, Hymes joined the AOA in 2005 as the director of the Washington, DC, office, the base of operations for the organization’s federal, state and third-party advocacy teams. Under his leadership, through significant activity in health care policy and legislative and regulatory wins for optometry, the AOA was recognized in a 2012 survey of Washington, DC, insiders for having one of the most effective and respected advocacy operations in the nation's capital. He and his staff’s achievements were presented an award from the Southern Caucus at the 2013 AOA House of Delegates meeting.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Hymes spent a decade on Capitol Hill as a Congressional chief of staff and legislative and communications aide. For five years, he served on the staff of Rep. Norman Lent of New York, then the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the U.S. House panel with wide-ranging jurisdiction over health care policy.

Brauns joined the AOA in 1999 as part of the Industry Relations Center and has been COO since 2010, overseeing the seven groups and centers based at AOA headquarters here. In 2013, she was honored as one of Vision Monday’s Most Influential Women in the Executive Suite category.

“Jon Hymes and Renee Brauns are respected, resolute and proven leaders who have served our AOA and our profession with distinction for many years,” said Munson. “Their in-depth knowledge of the organization, broad executive experience and unique understanding of optometry’s essential and expanding role in health care will ensure that the AOA continues to position our members to thrive and succeed.”

The AOA plans to undertake a thorough search to select a permanent executive director.