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ASCO, AAO, and NOA Announce Special Diversity Symposium at Academy 2020

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A special symposium slated for Academy 2020 (Nashville, TN), the first of its kind ever presented at an American Academy of Optometry (AAO) annual meeting, and co-presented by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, the National Optometric Association (NOA), and the Academy, will promote a basic understanding of the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion as they pertain to optometric education and clinical practice. The event will take place Thursday, October 8 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will be open to all Academy 2020 attendees.

The premise that Doctors of Optometry from a diverse, highly qualified applicant pool use their own cultural competence to improve patient-centered outcomes underlies the session. The program will feature an overview of the current state of diversity in optometry, ASCO’s cultural competency curriculum guidelines and efforts, an equity and inclusion success story from a non-optometric health field, and also offer strategies for working toward a more diverse, culturally sensitive and inclusive profession. Dr. Karla Zadnik, chair of the ASCO Diversity and Cultural Competency Committee, and Dean of the College of Optometry at The Ohio State University said, “This symposium is the first of its kind. Ever. Co-presented by ASCO, the NOA, and the Academy, it will break ground on academic optometry’s awareness of issues related to diversity and inclusion. Hopefully, faculty members at all ASCO institutions will make it a high priority for attendance.”

Symposium presenters are:

Dr. Gary Chu, Vice President, Professional Affairs, The New England College of Optometry (and chair of the ASCO Diversity, Equity and Inclusion SIG); Dr. Edna Chun, Chief Learning Officer, HigherEd Talent, and author of numerous books including “Leading a Diversity Culture Shift in Higher Education” (2018); Dr. Rustin Moore, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine and Ruth Stanton Chair in Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Clinical Services, The Ohio State University.

The session will be moderated by Dr. Sherrol Reynolds, President, National Optometric Association, an OD in private practice in Davie, Florida, and Dr. Karla Zadnik, Glenn A. Fry Professor of Optometry and Physiological Optics and Dean at The Ohio State University College of Optometry. The program also will feature a question and answer wrap-up at the conclusion of the presentations.


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