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  • Academy member participation is more important now than ever to advancing a pro-ophthalmology, pro-patient agenda. The Academy’s I Am an Advocate campaign provides ways for every member — including you — to become involved.

    Find out how and why, in the middle of running busy practices, your peers are involved in the Academy’s advocacy initiatives.

    Kenneth Cheng: Pragmatism and Necessity Guide My Advocacy 9/10/2015
    We all had our reasons for choosing a career in medicine and ophthalmology. They likely included some combination of “It’s something that I will be good at,” “I’d like to help others” and “I want to make a good living.” The insurance companies and regulations at the state and federal levels encroach upon each of these reasons.

    Rahul N. Khurana: Advocating Alongside My Patients 8/20/2015
    My first “call to arms” was this past summer in my home state of California. Though the state legislature derailed optometric expansion bills one year prior, optometrists introduced another bill.

    Philip R. Rizzuto: Relationships Matter: Helping to Thwart a Misguided Bill 6/11/2015
    My association with Academy advocacy started simply — when a colleague from my state society asked if I would like to participate in the Leadership Development Program, class of 2001.

    Ravi Goel: Who Represents the Patients? 9/25/2014
    As ophthalmologists, we must continue to represent the best interests of our patients in the exam room, the statehouse and Washington D.C.

    John B. Holds: All Politics Is Local — Get Involved at the State Level 6/12/2014
    A strong state ophthalmology society, involved membership, active lobbyists, ongoing legislative contacts and the support of the Academy’s Surgical Scope Fund and State Affairs are all essential to represent ophthalmology at a state level.

    Sonny Goel: Advocating for Our Patients and Profession—If Not Us, Then Who? 6/05/2014
    I am a passionate advocate for our patients and profession and I encourage every ophthalmologist and physician to get involved. If not you, then who?

    Pamela S. Chavis: Participation Protects the Profession We Love and Our Patients 5/29/2014
    I cannot imagine any career I would love as much as ophthalmology and neuro-ophthamology. As much as I loved neuro-ophthalmology when I began my medical career, the surprise is that I loved it even more over time. There are not many professions that nurture and grow its participants in this way.

    Michael S. Jacobs: Finding Common Ground Opens Doors 5/22/2014
    When I met with Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., during Congressional Advocacy Day this year, I never imagined our next meeting would occur in my office, just a few weeks later. But advocacy works best through relationships. And during that April discussion in Washington, D.C., Rep. Graves and I realized we shared more than geography.

    Kristin Carter: Stand Up and Defend Our Profession 5/15/2014
    Does it seem like the United States is waging a war against doctors? How many times have you heard that doctors make way too much money, we are greedy, and we are the reason that health care costs are spiraling out of control? Doctors used to be revered and respected in the community. Now we are all too often the scapegoats, the pariahs.

    Amalia Miranda: Balancing Advocacy and Your Practice is a Fine Art 5/08/2014
    In my opinion, being an ophthalmologist in Oklahoma makes you automatically an advocate for our profession and the safety of our patients. In 2004, the president of the state society – a passionate advocate herself – called to ask if I would accept the position of PAC treasurer. I was flattered that she would consider me as member of the Oklahoma team, particularly because that year we had a very comprehensive optometric-surgery bill pending in the legislature. We needed action, and that’s how I found myself at the forefront of the battle.

    Kenneth C. Low: Contribute Your Time and Funds to Advocating for Ophthalmology 5/01/2014
    The issues now undergoing debate in Congress and the state capitols greatly impact your practice! The benefits that you will receive will more than compensate for your contributions.”

    Ramesh S. Ayyala: Residents Must be Trained to Oppose Optometric Surgery 4/24/2014
    Surgery by surgeons. Safe surgery. You hear these buzz words quite a bit nowadays. It has been my passion as an educator to train young medical students into fine ophthalmic surgeons. In the process, I have realized the importance of proper training and the implementation of minimum standards of resident education. Upholding these standards is necessary to maintain patient safety.

    William “Chip” Richardson: It’s Time to Roar 4/17/2014
    I encourage you to find your own push into advocacy to make your mark. Give your time and give your resources. Give to the Surgical Scope Fund, to OPHTHPAC, and give to your state political action committee. Start your own fundraiser. Discover joy in advocacy as I have. You'll never look back, and you’ll know that at least you didn’t get too comfortable.

    Joseph Nezgoda: Jump In! Invest in Health Care's Future 4/10/2014
    There is no time like the present to advance the health of our nation. Lawmakers are currently setting the foundation for patient care that will shape medicine for decades. It will be transformative. But, what will this landscape look like? Without waiting for hindsight and lamenting its passing, be part of the process before it becomes history. Get informed and get involved.

    Geoffrey G. Emerson: Our Patients are Advocates Too 4/03/2014
    While the number of ophthalmologists in the United States and in each state is relatively small, the number of patients served by them is quite large. These patients are very vocal and persuasive to a legislator when they explain how vision loss affects them personally. Patients enjoy discussing their health care, and they appreciate the opportunity to participate in advocacy. This is especially true when the topic affects them directly. Our advocacy efforts can benefit from the millions of individual voices of our patients.

    John M. Haley: Advocacy Includes Helping Develop Payment Policy 3/27/2014
    While I have always participated in state scope issues and all political issues with my time and political action committee contribution – as well as individual political contributions – my love has been payment policy.

    Alan L. Wagner: We Literally Are All Advocates 3/20/2014
    Help make the world for our families, community and patients a better place. Extend your advocacy to include speaking regularly with opinion makers and legislators about what our profession needs in order for us to continue to “repair the world.” Your individual action matters. You too are an advocate!

    Diana Shiba: When Doctors Speak, Lawmakers Listen 3/13/2014
    It was 12:30 a.m. I was sitting at a desk in the main clinic, feeling worn already from a busy night on-call as a third-year resident. That’s when I got a call from a small hospital located 100 miles away, near the U.S.-Mexico border. The ER physician told me he had a four year-old patient. He wasn’t sure if the boy had a ruptured globe. He wanted an ophthalmologist to take a look, but couldn’t find a local ophthalmologist to see him. The boy had Medicaid.

    Cynthia A. Conner Self: Advocacy Is Part of Our Role as Ophthalmologists 3/06/2014
    As ophthalmologists, we are advocates. We serve patients in the office every day, often seeing 20-30 patients or more. Based on our experience and knowledge of disease, it is our job to be an advocate to our patients on their own behalf, to their family when needed, and to their other health care providers. However, with a bit of effort, we can also serve on a higher level: policymaking.

    Cecily Lesko: Being an Advocate is Part of Being a Doctor 2/27/2014
    How did I become an advocate? I blame my dad, William S. Lesko, MD. I actually thank him too. He is an ophthalmologist. Thankfully, so am I.

    Janice Law: Be an Ophthalmology Advocate to Keep Your Patients (and Your Loved Ones) Safe 2/20/2014
    If you care about patients receiving quality eye care, please join me in educating the community by building relationships with lawmakers and donating to the funds that can make a difference to our patients and to our field.

    Sidney Gicheru: Participation in Advocacy is Vital to Advancing Ophthalmology 2/13/2014
    Ophthalmology is our chosen profession. It is a noble profession that has been in existence since 800 B.C. and will be around for a longer time after we are gone. But as practicing ophthalmologists, we all need to exert effort to advance our profession.

    Natalio Izquierdo: Education is Key to Advocating for Our Patients 2/06/2014
    We must invest our energy in improving patients’ health through education. It is not about us. It is about our patients’ well-being. To do this successfully, we must all raise our voices and become patient advocates.

    Robert Melendez: Find Your Passion and Make Your Mark 1/30/2014
    Get involved locally and at the state and federal level. Find the one area where you can make an improvement — the area you feel passionately about — and make your mark there.

    Dawn Buckingham: Get in the Driver’s Seat and Control Your Destiny 1/23/2014
    Academy members’ involvement in political advocacy is about being in the driver’s seat. Physicians work so hard and deal with so many hassles and regulations, but too many of us are just riding along. There are many powerful drivers, such as hospitals, drug companies and insurance companies, all of whom are looking to control us for their selfish benefit.

    Stephanie Jones Marioneaux: Get Involved and Stay Involved 1/16/2014
    We must stop the devaluation of our skills in restoring the gift of sight. This requires everyone to be fully engaged and stay engaged. To assume that your dues will cover the Academy's work to address these issues so crucial for your ability to practice your profession and make a living without additional resources and member engagement is a fallacy.

    Lawrence Halperin: Engage in Advocacy on Behalf of Your Patients 1/09/2014
    I have engaged in advocacy on behalf of my patients, so that they can have the very best: the best care provided by the most capable health care providers, and the best chance to protect and improve their vision. If we concentrate on our patients and consider what is in their best interest, then we will be guided by the most important principle.

    Alan Kimura: Legislation and Regulations Affect All Aspects of Ophthalmology Practices 12/19/2013
    There is no aspect of our practice that is unaffected by legislation and regulation. Yet physicians remain largely disengaged from the legislative process. Physicians in the 21st century must now be competent in the political process that produces the legislation that impacts us so greatly.

    Julie Lee: Advocating Provides Unique Opportunity to be a Positive Influence 12/12/2013
    We all like to complain about what's wrong with ophthalmology and our health care system. Being an advocate gives me a voice, a strong and effective voice, allowing me to have more influence in the health-care-policy debate.

    Lindsay Rhodes: Being an Advocate is Exciting 12/05/2013
    I admit it: Deep down I am a patriot. When I worked in a U.S. senator’s office before my medical career, I loved seeing groups of school kids come through the office to learn about our unique political system. On Election Day, I am excited to make my voice heard and to see lines of fellow citizens at the polls, standing up for their beliefs. Now, as an ophthalmologist, I am proud to advocate on behalf of my patients and my profession.

    Robert Copeland: Advocacy is Vital to Patient Safety and Our Professional Training 11/26/2013
    When we advocate, we are first advocating for our patients’ safety and well-being. We must recognize the importance of advocacy in our life’s work as well. It is important to be involved in advocacy in order to protect what we do and the years of continual learning we undertake to be competent ophthalmologists.

    Jeff Maltzman: Participation in Advocacy is Vital to Shaping the Future of Medicine 11/14/2013
    There are so many ways to make an impact. Some serve on the Academy’s federal and state advocacy committees. Some become active in state ophthalmic or medical societies. Some choose to communicate with elected representatives. Every action, every contact, helps advance our cause.

    Chris Albanis: Advocacy is Key to Providing Patient Care 11/09/2013
    Beyond the clinic and operating room is an arena that determines, in many ways, how we practice medicine. It is in this arena that we must advocate for the needs of our patients, our profession of ophthalmology, the practice of medicine, our staff and for ourselves and our family.