09 January 2013

My January Report

President's Message

It is hard to believe it is 2013 already. I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. It seems like yesterday we were all together at the 2012 Annual Convention. I would like to thank both Jen Levy and Jen Thornton for going above and beyond, helping to make the event such a success. I would also like to thank everyone who donated to the MOA and AOA PAC at the Convention, especially Drs. Tom and Irwin Azman, whose donations earned them each the prestigious AOA PAC "Visionary" status.

With so many opportunities on the horizon for 2013, there is no time to slow down. We'll kick off the new year with our first board meeting on Jan. 8, 2013. Typically this is the longest board meeting and our agenda is already packed with issues and questions that need to be addressed to secure our place in the ever changing landscape of Maryland healthcare reform. It's hard to imagine that seemingly simple things like finding a new Young O.D. Chair and increasing O.D. involvement in new committees and Federal and State Key Programs can really make a difference, but the past year has proved this emphatically true. The first year of my presidency was a humbling, learning experience. What I have taken away is this; the strength of the bridges we build and the quality of the roads we pave traveling toward success depend upon teamwork, collaboration and relationships developed along the way. 2013 has the promise of good things to come for optometry in Maryland, but not without your help.

This week, Dr. Bob Dobrusin and I attended a fundraiser for Delegate Sue Krebs. With the help of other Key ODs, optometry continues to be well-represented at important fundraisers, political events and meetings throughout the State. As a result, we have been able to engage key policymakers about vital issues to the profession and raise awareness about the importance of eye health as an integral part of healthcare reform. The dialogues we have initiated with legislators and policymakers over the past year have proved an invaluable asset to our profession politically. 2013 will be a pivotal year for State lawmakers as they gear up their re-election efforts after the Legislative Session to prepare for November elections. It is crucial that our Association, and our profession, take advantage of this time and make sure that candidates know who we are and where we stand. I want to thank all the ODs who served our profession in 2012 by attending fundraisers and meetings and those committed to doing so in 2013. Every relationship we develop and strengthen brings us closer to our goals and closer to "success."

This year, the MOA has added a new event to our annual CE program. Our first ever Winter CE program will be held on Jan. 27, 2013, just weeks away. The January event, which will undoubtedly be another successful MOA CE program, could not have been organized so quickly without the assistance of our new MOA Education Chair, Dr. Fran Burgos. Thank you Dr. Burgos. There are no NFL games on January 27, so come on out and enjoy the day.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the one statistic mentioned at the Convention that continues to haunt me. Referencing the decrease in MOA members over the past few years, AOA Board of Trustee member, Dr. Andrea Thau, matter-of-factly stated that the current composition of MOA membership represents less than 50% of practicing ODs in the State. The implications of this disturbing truth for the MOA, both financially and politically, are troubling at best.  At worst, this statistic has the potential to stymie our current political efforts and halt the progress we have seen over the past year. If the MOA cannot confidently state that as an association we represent the majority of our profession in Annapolis, political advocacy becomes very difficult. Given the importance of this year politically and our goals for 2014, we must work diligently NOW to begin reversing our declining membership trend.  There is strength and credence in numbers, which we cannot afford to lose. Our future successes require the 50% threshold not only been met, but exceeded, by the 2013 Annual Convention. Please help us get there by recruiting a colleague to join, or re-join, the MOA. Our "Be One Get One" campaign makes it easy. 

Like our first Board meeting, this first newsletter of the year is packed with detailed updates about past and present MOA and AOA efforts and news. It also includes a ton of useful information to assist you in the practice of optometry in Maryland. Please take the time to read through what follows and a happy and healthy New Year to all.      


At January 17, 2013 at 4:56 PM , Blogger Mario Lopez said...

I"m thinking about seeing the optometrist in Edmonton because I've been having trouble seeing while driving at night.


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