Meet Selina McGee, OD, FAAO, President Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town in western Oklahoma. I graduated with 18 people in my high school class and nine of us had been together since kindergarten. My dad worked in oil and gas for 40+ years, he just retired, and my mom is a retired school teacher.
How did you land in optometry?
I knew I wanted to do something in health care, I didn’t know the right fit. There was a summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college that I spent with my older brother in Pennsylvania. I came across an ad for an optometric technician. I might have put in my cover letter that I wanted to go to optometry school. [Laughs] I landed the job, and a week later I was like, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Why private practice?
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and that’s the other part that drew me to optometry because I could marry those together. I worked my first five years of my career in a large nonprofit referral center. I loved the patient interaction but not the bureaucratic slowness. I knew that wasn’t going to be a long-term fit, so I left and opened a practice with another ophthalmologist with whom I have been in partnership for 17 years until just recently. And now I’m in private practice, full-scope optometry for the first time in 17 years, which is really cool.
Why don’t more ODs get involved in legislative changes?
I had a mentor when I started optometry school—Dr. George Foster was our dean. The first day of optometry school the conversation was around how important it was to be involved. If anyone has ever heard Dr. Foster’s three-legged stool talk, the school consists of our school and our state, the association and the members, and then the Board of Examiners. If any part of the three-legged stool teeters, the stool falls over. I had no idea optometry was such a heavily legislated profession. I learned very quickly because in 1998 we went to battle over our laser law. I hit the ground running with that knowledge, and I have never looked back. The fact that I’m president of our association and I spend as much time lobbying as I do anything else has been an interesting journey.