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  • Organizational development helps a society handle operations more effectively and efficiently. For ophthalmology societies, this can include considering new ways to use volunteers, staff, and other resources to better serve patients, the profession and its members. Toward this end, LDP participants develop a variety of projects for the societies they represent. Recent LDP organizational development projects include the following.

    Building an International Network of Women in Ophthalmology

    Erin Moore Shriver, MD, FACS, LDP XIX, Class of 2017 - Women in Ophthalmology

    Purpose: To create an international network of women in ophthalmology by building a database of ophthalmologists interested in serving as a key contact for Women in Ophthalmology (WIO) within their local ophthalmology society.

    Methods: A database of all national and regional ophthalmology societies including their region, email contact information, and website was compiled. An email address was created for WIO’s international efforts, and an email was sent to the contact for each national ophthalmology society. The recipients were asked to identify a women ophthalmologist within their organization who would be interested in serving as a key contact for WIO and to whom the email could be forwarded. The email included information regarding the mission of WIO, online resources available through the organization, details regarding the annual Summer Symposium, and how to form an international chapter. Additionally, the recipients were asked if any training or mission work was needed within their country and in what ways WIO could be of assistance to the women ophthalmologists within their local organization.

    Results: A total of 155 organizations were identified and email addresses were available for 154 organizations. The database is currently being compiled as organizations respond to the query.

    Conclusions: An international network of women in ophthalmology has the potential to serve as a powerful tool to not only assist female ophthalmologists throughout the world deal with issues related to being women in the field of ophthalmology, but it could serve as a powerful connector. WIO hopes to use this international network to improve ophthalmic education and surgical skill training, collaborate on research, increase gender and regional diversity on speaking panels, empower women to form local organizations, and better serve the needs of women ophthalmologists around the world.

    Louisiana Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons: A Reformation

    Pamela E. Williams, MD, LDP XVII, Class of 2015 - Louisiana Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons

    Purpose: The Louisiana Ophthalmology Association (LOA) recently shut down operations and has reformed as the Louisiana Association of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (LAEPS). This project will focus on reestablishing the state society under its new brand with new staffing. The idea is to offer Louisiana Ophthalmologists a new state society that will offer benefits to the members including legislative and educational benefits that may not have been perceived with the LOA.

    Methods: Conference calls were set up to explain to the LOA board members why the organization needed to be reorganized and restructured. Additional discussion among leaders within the state society helped to decide priorities and the focus of the new organization. Some suggestions from other state society leaders and AAO state affairs members have been incorporated into the new organization and others are also being considered as we move forward in the new organization.

    Results: A new and improved website has been launched. We hired a new lobbyist and navigated the last political session with relative success. New officers have been elected and a board of directors is currently being selected. Membership has increased from 75 members in 2014 to 81 members, or 34% of practicing ophthalmologists in the state. While increasing only slightly, we have identified areas of the state with low membership penetration and plan to target these areas with new membership committee members and a membership chair from a underrepresented area.

    We are targeting young ophthalmologists with a membership discount for those new to practice, and committee positions to increase involvement. Several upcoming CME events for residents and practicing physicians are planned and sponsored by the LAEPS.

    Conclusions: Events of the past 2 years have brought increasing awareness in Louisiana of the need for a strong state society. After being forced to close down the LOA, the Louisiana Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons has been formed with a more balanced approach to our mission. We realize that a solely legislative organization will have limited success. The LAEPS will offer social and educational membership benefits along with our legislative mission to build a stronger state society in the future.