Eye on Education

ASCO Summer Meetings Go Virtual

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ASCO Summer Meetings Go Virtual

The COVID-19 global pandemic recently caused ASCO to move its June meetings, originally scheduled to take place in National Harbor, Md, adjacent to Optometry’s Meeting, to a remote format. A few meetings were postponed and are scheduled to take place in Nashville in October during the Academy Annual Meeting.

Here are some highlights from virtual meetings that were held:

Board of Directors meeting

  • The ASCO 2021 Executive Committee was elected. The new ASCO officers are: Dr. John Flanagan, President; Dr. Kelly Nichols, President-Elect; Dr. Melissa Trego, Secretary-Treasurer; Dr. Mark Colip, At Large Member; and Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, Past President
  • ASCO’s Executive Vice President/CEO presented a status report on progress made toward goals in the ASCO Strategic Plan.
  • The ASCO Board welcomed Mark Risher, Director of Optometric Academic Development, to discuss latest news from Allergan.
  • The Board voted to amend ASCO’s Residency Title Guidelines by inserting an “emphasis area” when applicable and that area will now be listed with a “category” level title. The Board also voted to establish a formal application process, using the “Guidelines for the Recognition of an Optometric Subspeciality” as its foundation, for recognizing new areas of emphasis/sub-specialization
  • Discussion surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and protests and how the broader optometric community will proceed in the future, including student compliance with regards to mask wearing and social distancing, didactic vs clinic education and contact tracing
  • Approval of a dues increase for Associate Members starting in FY22.
  • Addition to the ASCO FY21 budget and workplan, including hiring a diversity consultant to help the association and its member institutions identify and implement the most beneficial interventions to increase racial diversity among students and faculty.
  • After more than 25 years on the ASCO Board, Dr. David Loshin, ASCO’s current longest-serving Board Member, announced his retirement as Dean of Nova Southern University College of Optometry, effective August 1.

The next meeting of the Board of Directors is scheduled for October 6 in Nashville, TN.

Annual Meeting

  • The “passing of the gavel” (this year it was a rubber mallet) from Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, ASCO Outgoing President to Dr. John Flanagan, ASCO Incoming President
  • Recognition of ASCO staff and our generous Corporate Contributors
  • Voting to approve amendments to ASCO’s bylaws and governance structure that include adding a Provisional Member category; changes to the ASCO Committee structure; and separating the position of Secretary-Treasurer into two separate officer positions
  • Special Recognition Awards presentation
  • Presenting of ASCO’s Resolutions
    • The American Academy of Optometry for service to Optometric Education during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic
    • Thanking Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe for an exemplary year of service as ASCO President
    • Congratulating Pacific University, College of Optometry on its 75th anniversary

Additional meetings

  • Update on the progress made by ASCO’s public awareness campaign, Optometry Gives Me Life in building awareness of optometry as a profession of choice
  • Update from the NBEO (National Board of Examiners in Optometry), including updates on Part III exam revisions; response to COVID-19; and plans for re-scheduling licensure exams postponed due the pandemic
  • Discussion with ACOE President Bill Ratcliff and Executive Director Joyce Urbeck on temporary policy for virtual site visits, granting extensions of accreditation, providing good cause extensions, and granting retroactive accreditations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • ASCO and ARBO discussion on COVID-19 licensure requirements; annual report from the COPE governing committee; and CE for distance education. Additional discussions focused on sub-specialization and collecting state board licensure information for USDE distance education declarations
  • Joint meetings of the Executive Committees of AOA/ASCO and AAO/ASCO

Watch for updates to the schedule of ASCO’s summer and fall meeting will be reported in ASCO’s newsletter, Eye on Education.


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