Robert E. Wiggins Jr., MD, MHA
I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for the nomination to serve a three-year term as senior secretary for ophthalmic practice. Given the multitude of forces that will be impacting ophthalmic practices in the coming years, I am excited about the opportunity to help lead the Academy's efforts to assist ophthalmologists and their administrators address these challenges.
As the managing partner of Asheville Eye Associates since 2000, it has been my privilege to assist with the management of our practice, which has grown to include physicians across the spectrum of ophthalmologic subspecialties, optometrists, an optical dispensary, an ambulatory surgery center and multiple practice locations. I was fortunate to have the practice invest in its future by supporting my education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in a three-year program, resulting in a master of health care administration degree at the beginning of my tenure as managing partner. This program provided the knowledge base and infrastructure that have since governed my approach to practice management. Our practice has also participated in a North Carolina program for practice management and quality that uses the Baldrige health care criteria. I have served as an examiner in the state program and attended state and national conferences on the Baldrige quality program. This program has also fundamentally shaped and informed my thinking about excellence in practice management. Finally, my service on the boards of the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives and American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and on OMIC committees has further broadened my exposure to leaders in the field and a broad range of practice management issues.
The role of the senior secretary for ophthalmic practice is one of assuring that the practice management needs of the members of the Academy and AAOE are met. That purpose will require active involvement with the Academy staff and volunteers in the development and execution of a comprehensive plan for the Academy's practice management program and improving on that plan year after year. My vision is that the resources offered will be essential to the success of ophthalmic practices. A future target is to have at least one physician/administrator team from every Academy member practice participating in the Academy's practice management program.
My background has given me the framework to think about what it takes to develop a high-performing organization and an ophthalmic practice in which to test and put those ideas in place. In addition, I have enjoyed connecting with other professionals, sharing ideas and growing through the various committees and practice management courses in which I have participated. Practice management skills are going to be more important than ever in the years ahead. The challenge of this position is how to most effectively use the resources of the Academy to extend its outreach in developing practice management capabilities throughout the ophthalmic community at this critical time. I appreciate your consideration and welcome the opportunity.