06 April 2009

Shooting from the Lip: The Truth about Board Certification

     For many of you who do not know, your state leaders have been spending many hours becoming educated on the issue of Board Certification that we will be discussing over the next few months--perhaps longer.  I have spent many a weekend and evening hour reading the posts on ODwire, Optometric Physician and the proliferation of discussion over the internet.  In one sense I believe that this rigorous discourse is good for the profession as we take an active part in our future.  On the other hand I am very concerned about the amount of false and misleading information that is out there.  Indeed since the time of Socrates, mankind has a desire to get caught up in hysteria and want to believe the worst in things.
     As many of my respected colleagues, I can no longer sit on the sidelines but must make a few statements.  I would contend that it is one of the failings of my own "Baby Boom Generation" to want to make a poll to determine what is correct, and to determine how the majority feel in a democratic society.  People always fail to ask the question, "Is the issue at stake one to which opinion is relevant?"  Of course we want to give everyone a proper voice on this matter, but first we must have a proper and fair debate on the issue.  I want to dilate on the point that we must first get the facts straight.  I am one of the biggest proponents of the internet, Facebook, Second Life, Tele-Town Hall and the new methods of communication.  However, these are all based on the proper use of language and debate.  Indeed the teachings of Aristotle are where we should look in the proper use of logic, analysis, and evaluation.
     Since there are too many issues for me to discuss online, I am asking you to come to one of our Maryland Optometric Association Town Halls to discuss Board Certification, as well as membership, legislation, community service, and many of the issues important to our association.  I personally take great offense at many of the postings accusing our leadership of not making honest attempts to inform our members, and give them a proper voice.  Indeed much of our time has been taken up having to answer to many of the rumors and stories proliferated over the past year.  As many of you know that was not by accident!  I understand that people are concerned with not having us take unnecessary exams, or incur other costs.  I do not think anyone wants that.  I have been to a recent update on Board Certification at Vision Expo East in New York.  I will be getting a further updates at the Spring Planning Meeting the last week of April in St. Louis.  I will meet with our Anne Arundel Society on April 28th.  We will have larger Town Halls in Rockville on May 12th, and in Baltimore on May 19th.  I look forward to seeing everyone, giving you the truth about the issues, and having some healthy, rigorous discourse on the issues.  
     So if you want to hear the truth and get the best information on Board Certification please come to one of our Town Halls.  Everyone will have a voice and you will hear the latest, most accurate information.  I would continue to read information from the AOA website as things are changing frequently.  I would also continue to read ODwire, and Optometric Physician to keep informed about arguments being discussed against Board Certification.  I am asking everyone to be absolutely cynical about anything your read or hear about the issue. There is an old saying that you can believe 10% of what you see, none of what you hear.
     As I make this post on my iPhone I think about my recent trip to New York for Vision Expo East.  Indeed the economic depression has had a great effect on the City, and you can see that in the size of the exhibit hall this year.  I was saddened to walk through the Virgin Atlantic Store on their last day to see it completely empty from close-out sales.  Apple's iPods and the digital music revolution has completely eliminated CD's, etc. in only a few short years.  For those of you who read NYC Daily News Sports Writer Mike Lupica's column: "Shooting from the Lip," let's get fed up with all of the irrelevant polls and hysteria that has been created.  If you come to our Maryland Optometric Association Town Halls I promise that you will get the most accurate information, and our members will get a true voice.  Enjoy the rest of April and I will see you soon.

Thomas A. Wong, O.D.
President Maryland Optometric Association     


At April 6, 2009 at 9:36 PM , Blogger David Cockrell said...


Very well put comments. There has unfortunately been a great deal of hysteria created by both misinformation and lack of information. The AOA is starting as of this week to increase the amount of information on this subject to our members. I don't know if you are aware of this or not. I will be the presenter at the HOD on BC. If I can be of help to you or disemminating information to your members, please let me know. I would be happy to provide a webinar for your members or board and officers if you would like one. Thanks again for very well made points.

David cockrell


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