07 September 2012

Transformations .September Presidents Column


As I tried to celebrate the end of summer, I went to Ocean City with my family and unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans. Upon hitting the beach we discovered the flies were all over us. Locals blamed the wind coming off the bay. We retreated inside and I stumbled upon a TV show called “Bar Rescue” where they take a bar in danger of closing and transform it into a successful one.

In each episode the theme of the bar/restaurant was modified to adapt to environmental changes, which had not been accounted for or addressed by the owner.  Of course this brought about apprehension from the staff and owners, and as with all reality TV there was plenty of drama, but if you looked at the end result it was simply amazing.  Watching these transformations unfold made me thing about change and how it relates to success.  Change is never easy.  It usually involves a lot of hard work to overcome obstacles that stand in the way.  This said, almost all success stories depend upon change to some extent.

Reflecting back on my first nine months as President I began to think about the transformation going on in the MOA.  We hired an expert (Dr. Jim Caldwell) to help us develop a strategic plan. Realizing that public health and legislative policy goals would be important moving forward, we hired a Director of Legislative Affairs, Jennifer Levy. Jennifer’s years of experience in Annapolis have greatly assisted us in achieving goals outlined in our new strategic plan.  Like the bars and restaurants I watched on TV, the MOA transformation has been slow and not without some obstacles, even hesitation.  However, the successes we have seen and those we anticipate as a result of changes the MOA has instituted thus far are real and exciting.  We are becoming well known in Annapolis and within the national and State public health community. We have even been recognized nationally by the AOA as a result of optometry’s victory with a Maryland ERISA plan offered by Shore Health Systems on the Eastern Shore.  Jennifer has set up a wonderful legislative section on the MOA website. The section is packed with information about the practice of optometry in Maryland and information about State and national policy agendas that impact us.  Check it out and use it as a resource by visiting the MOA website at http://maryland.aoa.org/x13892.xml

The transformation has begun, but we cannot stop here.  We need to build on the momentum and successes we have enjoyed in the past year in order to reach our end goal and be WOWED by successes it will bring in the future – successes we can only imagine right now.  Without some investment from all of us, the return on MOA efforts will diminish.  Below are three areas where you can help.

Mission 2020 -  We have initiated a public health campaign called Mission 2020.  The success of "Mission 2020" will depend on three things: 1) optometrist volunteers 2) collaborative efforts with national and Maryland-based non-profit organizations and 3) partnerships with vision related companies.  VSP is one of the vision related companies that will help the MOA bring eye exams and materials to patients in need.  Please read Jennifer’s section about Mission 2020 and if you are a VSP provider, sign up so you will be able to work on their Mobile Eye Care unit at upcoming events.

The Eye & Vision Section of the Maryland Public Health Association - The MdPHA’s full membership will vote this month on a proposal MOA member, Dr. Lori Grover, submitted to create an Eye and Vision Section (EVS) within the Maryland Public Health Association. It was approved by their Executive Board at their last meeting.  Once approved, the EVS will begin to develop its strategy to deliver effective and efficient eye and vision health awareness, services and advocacy to benefit the citizens of Marylander.  Dr. Grover has worked closely with the MOA and has been instrumental in devising the initial EVS proposal.  The MOA want’s to thank Dr. Grover for her service and efforts thus far.  Once the EVS is formally recognized it will begin the seeking out individuals dedicated to public health.  The MOA will offer 5 free MdPHA memberships to any member optometrist willing to help EVS.  Please read more about the EVS and our exciting news about the wonderful addition of Dr. Corinne Casey to the EVS Board.

Grassroots Advocacy - Of course we have to continue building our grassroots efforts in order to secure our vision of optometry’s future in Maryland. We have two events to announce:  

1) MOA member only event for Delegate Shane Pendergrass on Oct. 3, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Dr. Tracie King’s Office - 7310 Esquire Court, Suite 3, Elkridge, Maryland 21075.  She has been a champion for us in the past, and a powerful and effective ally.  It is crucial that we support those that support optometry, so please contribute if you can.  No amount is too large or too small.  Make Checks payable to: “People for Pendergrass” and send them to the MOA c/o Jennifer Levy at 720 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230.

2) AACOS “Family Fun Day” event on Sunday September 23rd at Quiet Waters Park.  This casual event will offer a free TPA CE and is open to all optometrists and their families. Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, who is very involved in health care reform efforts in PG County and throughout all of Maryland will be attending. The 1 hour CE begins at 1pm with festivities lasting throughout the afternoon.  It’s a great opportunity to meet Delegate Pena-Melnyk and some new colleagues while enjoying some family time.

Please join us when we call upon you to help us in transforming MOA’s theme and securing optometry’s future in Maryland. I think the ROI at the end of our show will be huge, but our success depends on everyone working together. If Buck Showalter can do it with the Orioles, we can do it with the MOA.

As for Bar Rescue, I may not watch it again until the next time inclement weather traps me indoors, but I do plan on going to Murphy’s Law in Fell’s Point during our December convention.  Consider joining me there to see a true success story and tell me what you think our success story should look like.

Until next month,


As I was typing this I received some sad news.  Dr. Bill Davis is moving out of state shortly.    Over the last several years Bill has done an outstanding job as MOA Education Chair and I thank him for his service.

MOA needs a new Education Chair. Any takers?  First one to volunteer gets a free drink on me at Murphy’s Law.


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