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  • Ensuring the Success of Our Profession Through Informed Legislators and Future Leaders

    Mid-Year Forum 2017
    During AAO 2017, Adrienne W. Scott, MD, presents her project to her graduating LDP class and the incoming 20th LDP class.

    Each April, the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C., brings together our members and other ophthalmic leaders to learn about legislative and regulatory issues facing the profession. We also meet with federal lawmakers to help shape public policy.

    Engaging One-on-One with Elected Officials

    At Mid-Year Forum 2017 Congressional Advocacy Day, a record 431 ophthalmologists met on Capitol Hill with legislators and their staff to present the concerns and positions of our profession. This included a record 170 residents and fellows participating in the Mid-Year Forum via the Advocacy Ambassador Program.

    Congressional Advocacy Day participants urged members of Congress to press the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in support of the Academy’s campaign to provide relief from regulatory burdens and Medicare payment penalties. As a result, CMS offered a reprieve from the requirements and penalties associated with these legacy quality-reporting programs for 2018.

    Academy members also pushed Congress for robust funding for vision research. Although it must act to finalize the spending levels for fiscal year 2018, Congress is poised to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health and National Eye Institute. In addition, funding for the Defense Vision Research Program is likely to be maintained at $15 million.

    Preparing Leaders for Roles in Organized Medicine and Beyond

    Academy advocacy ambassadors also attended the third annual L.E.A.P. Forward session during Mid-Year Forum 2017. This program featured leaders in our profession providing members-in-training with key messages on leadership, engagement, advocacy and practice management. Jordan Stanley, MD, a 2017 advocacy ambassador sponsored to attend Mid-Year Forum 2017 by the Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology, said, “I cannot say enough positive things about the quality of this session. I was inspired by each speaker and left with an overwhelming sense of optimism about the future of our profession.”

    In addition, participants in the 20th Academy Leadership Development Program (LDP) class were announced in June. At the Global LDP Alumni Reception during AAO 2017, we celebrated this milestone along with the global expansion of the program. Attendees included global LDP alumni from national and supranational societies as well as participants of all 20 Academy LDP classes who were nominated by state, subspecialty and specialized interest societies.