American Academy of Optometry: Truly about fellowship

November 17, 2015

I made my annual pilgrimage to the American Academy of Optometry meeting, this year in the beautiful crescent city. New Orleans is one of my favorite venues, as my waistline can attest.

I made my annual pilgrimage to the American Academy of Optometry meeting, this year in the beautiful crescent city. New Orleans is one of my favorite venues, as my waistline can attest. Couple the location with my favorite optometry meeting of the year, and it was a relaxing and informative trip.

Brett Bence, OD, FAAO, president of the Academy, reported in an e-mail to the membership that the total attendance for this year's Academy meeting was just short of 7,500. Outstanding. Other signs of the Academy’s success: 240 optometrists were inducted as Fellows as well as a record 14 new Diplomates were welcomed into the fold. 

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It isn’t hard to understand the Academy’s success: world-class professional post-graduate education all the time. According to Dr. Bence, attendees enjoyed 340 CE hours delivered by 2,116 total speakers.

Yet I think the Academy’s real secret is the friendly nature of the meeting. As Dr. Bence said, “Fellowship is the foundation of our organization.” And not just the official fellowship the Academy confers. It’s the fellowship and camaraderie of the members. It’s the only meeting every year I get to see all of my AAO Primary Care Section colleagues, and I treasure our fellowship and friendship. Our evening dinners (which included three trips to Café du Monde for beignets that week) were my personal highlight of the trip, although Rue Bourbon was a bit stunning.

The Academy’s identity is lifelong learning for the optometric professional. The Academy is poised for historic growth. Again, according to Dr. Bence, “We are experiencing an attendance trajectory that could elevate our registrations close to a previously unfathomable 10,000 in the coming years.” This is further proof our profession’s Academy is excelling. Come join us next year in Anaheim for excellent fellowship!

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