NEW YORK—SUNY College of Optometry's Office of Continuing Professional Education recently held the Annual Race in Optometry webinar, now in its third year. Titled "Race in Optometry: Headwinds - Exploring Emerging Barriers to Success," the virtual session was held June 28, 2023.The wide-ranging June 28 discussion is now available to view live, along with prior panels in the series. The "Headwinds" discussion was held just prior to the June 29 U.S. Supreme Court decision about affirmative action in college and university admissions processes, as VMAIL reported, which drew concern and renewed commitment to divsersity initiatives among optometry groups.

The SUNY Optometry series launched in 2020 to stimulate a national, ongoing conversation on race and equity within the profession of optometry.

Moderated by Dr. Joy Harewood, chief diversity officer and associate clinical professor at SUNY College of Optometry, the discussion included 10 panelists. This year’s lecture offered a variety of perspectives ranging from legal considerations, barriers to success, and increased efforts to maintain and continue to grow diversity.

“SUNY College of Optometry is a leader in looking at ways to improve diversity across the field of optometry including leading conversations such as the Race in Optometry series,” observed SUNY Optometry president Dr. David A. Heath, “The College remains committed to DEIB and will work within the new guidelines to continue to advance the principles of diversity, belonging, and inclusion across the optometric workforce. The impact of this critical work extends beyond the walls of our campus and impacts the population health of the diverse patient community we serve.”

The most recent panel discussion, titled "Race in Optometry: Headwinds - Exploring Emerging Barriers to Success," can be viewed here

For those who missed previous Race in Optometry sessions, they are available at these links:

Part 1 - Race in Optometry: An Honest Conversation

Part 2 - Race in Optometry: Seeking Solutions

Part 3 - Race in Optometry: Diversity and Leadership in the Optometric Industry and the Profession

Part 4 - Race in Optometry - Accountability - One Year Later

Part 5 - Race in Optometry: Where Are We Now Two Years Later?

Founded in 1971 and located in New York City, the State University of New York College of Optometry is a leader in education, research and patient care, offering the Doctor of Optometry degree as well as MS and PhD degrees in vision science. The College conducts a robust program of basic, translational and clinical research and has 65 affiliated clinical training sites as well as an on-site clinic, the University Eye Center.

SUNY Optometry is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; its four-year professional degree program and residency programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association. All classrooms, research facilities and the University Eye Center, which is one of the largest optometric outpatient facilities in the nation, are located on 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan.