Eye on Education

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I hope your new year is off to a great start and are glad to see the year 2020 on your calendars. What a wonderful opportunity to focus on the importance of eye care as part of overall health and wellness, and the role of vision in enhancing and maintaining quality of life. When I think about all of these opportunities to promote the profession of optometry to potential students and the public, and to promote optometric education and its vital role within the profession, I keep thinking of the phrase “better together”. I see the importance of collaboration in everything that we do.

Love it, like it, or hate it, recently U.S. News and World Report released its list of best heath care jobs. Optometrist ranked number 11. https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/best-healthcare-jobs. In their write up on optometry, they report that the unemployment rate is 0.1%, which is lower than any other profession in the top 20. https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/optometrist. We like to tell our own story and highlight the things that are important to us, as optometric educators. We may disagree with the methods, the sampling, or other parts of the report, but can we find a way to use this information to support our goals? Are we better together when we maximize the opportunity to get the word out?

Recently, I had the opportunity to share some time with the leadership of the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry. In 2020 we are celebrating the fact that for the first time, three women ODs happen to be serving as presidents of each organization. https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/wo/beyond-the-practice/leaders/article/three-national-organizations-three-women-leading-them/. It was a lot of fun to think about how our organizational goals and aspirations align in support of our profession, and to ponder what it means to have changes in the gender balance at all levels of our profession: from students to faculty members, to researchers, to administrators, to leaders, and to powerful advocates working on the national scene.

I think that we are better together when we share our vision for all of optometry. We are better together when we are inclusive of diverse backgrounds and diverse points of view. It’s going to be a great year 2020!


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