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    Why Attend the Mid-Year Forum?

    Last spring was my second year attending the Mid-Year Forum (MYF), and from personal experience, I can say that there are three great reasons to attend: advocacy, education, and connections. Although we all make a big difference with daily clinical work, I’d encourage everyone to go national with their passion for patient safety and our profession. If we don’t show up in D.C., our voices will go unheard.

    During Congressional Advocacy Day, we trek around the U.S. Capitol (during the beautiful cherry blossom season), meeting with representatives and their staff. During these meetings, we have opportunities to inform our nation’s leaders about the goals and challenges of our profession and explain how pending legislation affects our patients. When you see how various bills are introduced and passed, you may think of the Schoolhouse Rock! episode “I’m Just a Bill,” but hopefully this experience will be as enlightening for you as it was for me! Attendees can take this understanding back home to effectively advocate at the state level for quality patient eye care.

    Lastly, the MYF provides great opportunities to meet leaders within our field, particularly at fun events like the OphthPAC and Surgical Scope Fund receptions. The connec­tions you will make with both leaders and peers are valuable because they allow you to share experiences and learn about other states’ issues, all in a less formal setting.

    I have had the opportunity to attend two MYFs so far, and I plan to advocate for my profession at as many of these meetings as I can in the future. I’d encourage all to attend!

    Paul O. Phelps, MD
    Member, Academy Young Ophthalmologist
    Advocacy Subcommittee
    Chicago

    2019 Mid-Year Forum

    The Mid-Year Forum will take place April 10-13. During this annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Academy members and ophthalmic leaders gather to discuss critical issues facing ophthalmology. The event also includes Congressional Advocacy Day and the spring meeting of the Academy Council. Mid-Year Forum 2019 is open to all Academy members.

    For registration and event information, visit aao.org/mid-year-forum.

    To learn about the Advocacy Ambassador Program for Academy Members-in-Training, visit aao.org/mid-year-forum/advocacy-ambassador-program.