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ASCO, AAO and NOA Special Diversity Symposium at Academy 2020

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ASCO, AAO and NOA Special Diversity Symposium at Academy 2020

A special, virtual symposium slated for Academy 2020, the first of its kind ever presented at an American Academy of Optometry (AAO) annual meeting, will promote a basic understanding of the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion as they pertain to optometric education and clinical practice. Co-presented by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), the National Optometric Association (NOA) and the Academy, and generously funded by VSP Global, the online event will take place Thursday, Oct. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time as part of the Academy’s virtual annual meeting and will be open to all Academy 2020 At Home attendees and non-attendees alike.

A link to the symposium will be provided free of charge to those who aren’t registered for the course and a video recording of the event will be made available at a later date on the Academy’s website.

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 showcase the current state of diversity in optometry and feature 1) an overview of ASCO’s cultural competency curriculum guidelines and its diversity and inclusion efforts, 2) an equity and inclusion success story from a non-optometric health field, and 3) strategies for working toward a more diverse, culturally sensitive and inclusive profession.

Dr. Karla Zadnik, 2019-2020 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 attendance a high priority.”

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 Special Interest Group; 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. Cynthia Heard, Professor of Optometry, Southern College of Optometry and Chair, AAO Diversity Task Force; Dr. Sherrol Reynolds, Associate Professor and Chief, Advanced Ophthalmic Care at Nova Southeastern University and President, National Optometric Association, 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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