"I loved the opportunity to meet with so many leaders in our field and listen to their opinions and experiences. So often in residency we focus only on clinic/OR/OKAPs. The L.E.A.P. Forward program and Congressional Advocacy Day visits helped broaden my perspective about the field and encouraged me to think outside the residency box."
--2016 Advocacy Ambassador
- Engage and educate members-in-training (residents and those undergoing fellowship training) early on as to the importance of advocating for their profession (training future advocates for patients and for the profession);
- Help members-in-training understand the importance of membership and active involvement in their respective state ophthalmology and subspecialty societies; and
- Expose members-in-training to some of the critical issues in medicine being discussed by leaders in ophthalmology during the Mid-Year Forum and Council sessions (the Council is the policy advisory body to the Academy’s Board of Trustees).
Advocacy Ambassador Program 2017
- Congressional Advocacy Day dinner briefing - April 26
- Briefing/reception for program participants – April 26
- Congressional Advocacy Day visits (scheduled by the Academy’s Washington, D.C., office) – April 27
- Policy, practice management and politics sessions – April 27-28
- L.E.A.P. Forward session for program participants (Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy, Practice Management) – April 28
- Post-Hill visits debrief session for program participants – April 28
- Invited guests at Council meeting – April 28-29
View the complete Mid-Year Forum program.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
- Waives Mid-Year Forum registration fee ($200) for program participants;
- Provides a special onsite briefing/reception for program participants with Academy, state and subspecialty society leaders;
- Provides mentors for Advocacy Ambassadors’ visits with members of Congress;
- Formally recognizes Advocacy Ambassadors during the Mid-Year Forum Opening Session and welcome reception and dinner;
- Offers a dedicated session for program participants, L.E.A.P. Forward (Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy, Practice Management);
- Provides a dedicated post-Hill visits debrief session for program participants to share Congressional Advocacy Day experiences and ask questions of Academy and society leaders;
- Extends a special invitation to Advocacy Ambassadors to attend both the Surgical Scope Fund and OPHTHPAC receptions for significantly reduced contributions;
- Provides a template PowerPoint presentation following the Mid-Year Forum for Advocacy Ambassadors to personalize and present to their colleagues.
Participating State, Subspecialty and Specialized Interest Societies
- Sponsors the travel expenses to the Mid-Year Forum for Advocacy Ambassadors selected to attend. State, subspecialty and specialized interest societies each determine: a) their willingness to participate; and, b) their level of financial support;
- Provides society leader “mentors” for visits by Advocacy Ambassadors to members of Congress as part of Congressional Advocacy Day;
- Ensures society leader(s) attendance at required follow-up presentation by Advocacy Ambassador to their training program peers.
Participating Training Programs
- Allows time in the Advocacy Ambassador's work schedule to attend the Mid-Year Forum without vacation penalty;
- Where possible, helps the ophthalmology society fund the Advocacy Ambassador's travel (transportation/housing);
- Allows the Advocacy Ambassador "podium time" to relay to fellow ophthalmologists-in-training what s/he has learned at the Mid-Year Forum.
Testimonials from Program Participants
"The L.E.A.P. Forward session was outstanding. I walked away feeling incredibly inspired and with a new sense of purpose as I returned to my residency training program." -- 2016 Advocacy Ambassador
"Special thanks to the American Academy of Ophthalmology for allowing residents like myself to act as ambassadors; to the individual state ophthalmology societies that generously sponsored numerous residents so they could participate in Congressional Advocacy Day; to the home institutions who made it possible for residents and fellows to take time away from their hectic schedules; and finally to my ophthalmology program -- particularly our program director, and our chair, who made it possible for all of our residents to attend." -- 2015 Advocacy Ambassador
Contact Gail Schmidt, director of ophthalmic society relations.