AOA Sets its 2020 Agenda as Dr. Barbara Horn Takes the Helm as President

ST. LOUIS—The American Optometric Association wrapped up its annual Optometry’s Meeting here in late June with new president Barbara L. Horn, OD, of South Carolina, being sworn into office for the 2019-20 year. In addition, four other executive committee members and six trustees were confirmed for the 2019-2020 term.

“There is one clear theme in this important work we are doing to uphold care and patients,” Dr. Horn said in her inaugural address. “We have power when we work together, as one, which is why I am so passionate about membership.”

In addition, Dr. Horn called the changing landscape in health care an epic moment for the profession of optometry. Health care is experiencing dramatic shifts in regulations, care delivery, technology and doctor-patient engagement, she observed. In the past, in the face of change, doctors of optometry dared to charge a fee for their services and boldly blazed across the country in an effort to advance care by modernizing legislation, Dr. Horn said.

AOA members carry that flame forward today, she added. “It is our collective power that makes optometry-and our flame-so strong, which is why I am resolute on moving forward as one profession, with one voice.”

She noted that there are multiple actions the AOA is marshalling to take on challenges and challengers in the year ahead, including, the AOA’s new 2020 initiative: #2020EyeExam. The initiative will encourage Americans to make 2020 the year they schedule an in-person, comprehensive eye exam with their doctor of optometry.

The initiative includes: enlisting visionary employers to make a pledge to build understanding and support for eye exams among their work forces. Already enlisted are the National Down Syndrome Society, Domino’s Pizza, Rite Aid and Johnson & Johnson Vision, according to an AOA announcement.

Another part of the program will be an effort to reach out to a range of health care professionals to support doctor-to-doctor communication and collaboration, and a national media campaign, called “Start with Eye,” that will be directed at caregivers for children and adults. The campaign will underscore the essentialness of in-person, comprehensive eye exams.

The AOA’s executive committee, in addition to Horn, includes: president-elect William T. Reynolds of Kentucky (newly elected), vice president Robert C. Layman, OD, of Ohio (newly elected), secretary-treasurer James P. DeVleming, OD, of Washington (newly elected) and immediate past president Samuel D. Pierce, OD, of Alabama.

The board of trustees members sworn into office at the meeting were: Teri K. Geist, OD, of Nebraska (newly elected), Terri Gossard, OD, MS of Ohio (newly elected), Steven T. Reed, OD, of Mississippi (re-elected), Lori L. Grover, OD, PhD, of Illinois (re-elected), Ronald L. Benner, OD, of Montana (continuing to serve) and Jacqueline Bowen, OD, of Colorado (continuing to service).

The officers and board members were confirmed by AOA’s House of Delegates. AOA’s trustees help establish association policy and advocates for the profession of optometry, both in state and federal government offices.