28 February 2008

Launch of the Student MOA at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry!

By Lauren Gormley, O.D.

As a very exciting addition to the Young OD Committee of the MOA, there has now been a sector established for the youngest Optometrists-- the students!
February 18th marked the establishment of the Student MOA at PCO. This group will be maintained by the students of PCO: lead by a second year student president, Eleanor Kim, and a first year student liaison. There was such enthusiasm by the students in the first year class (of 2011) that we ended up deciding on two co-liaisons, Gayle Lowe and Jonathan Reynon. Thirty eight other students have been added to the ranks of the student MOA members.

This group will allow the students to communicate through the chair of the Young OD committee, Lauren Gormley (me) the needs of our colleagues still working toward their doctorate of optometry. Some of the concerns identified were the need for more externship sites in the state of Maryland. Many of the students plan on returning to practice in Maryland and would like to use their externships at PCO to learn the different areas of the state as well as scope of practice and practice types available in Maryland. Additionally, for students who are in their fourth year, many are concerned about finding employment, as well as basic business information to begin practicing as an Optometrist.
The initiative of the Young OD Committee, in association with the MOA Board, is to make the transition from student optometrist to young optometrist in Maryland an easy and fulfilling one. Some of the needs are already being addressed! The young OD committee has begun work with the department of clinical externship affairs at PCO to establish new and varied externship sites in the state. In the April issue to the MOA newsletter, the Eyewitness, a brief qualification list will be included to encourage practitioners to evaluate if their practice would offer a good externship opportunity for students.
These are only the first steps in establishing a strong, and much needed, bridge between practicing optometrists in MD and student optometrists who will soon be joining us in our state.

Lauren Gormley, O.D.
Chairperson Maryland Young OD Committee
PCO Class of 2007


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