American Academy of Ophthalmology
- Waives Mid-Year Forum registration fee ($225) for program participants
- Provides a special onsite briefing/reception for program participants with Academy, state and subspecialty/specialized interest society leaders
- Ensures Advocacy Ambassadors’ visits with members of Congress include seasoned advocates
- 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 Capitol Hill wrap-up session for program participants to share Congressional Advocacy Day experiences and ask questions of Academy and society advocacy 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 determines their willingness to participate and 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 Advocacy Ambassador Program Participants
Here is what the Advocacy Ambassadors had to say about their participation:
• “The Mid-Year Forum opened my eyes to many issues our profession is facing, but the L.E.A.P Forward session taught me more about what I can do to get involved. At the end of this meeting, I realized that even as a young ophthalmologist I have a voice in many important issues, and there's no reason to wait to get more involved in advocacy.”
• "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."
• "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."
• "This was such an inspiration. We have worked so hard to get where we are in our residencies, and even residency itself can be brutal, with sleepless nights, stresses of deadlines and fearfulness of not knowing the answer in grand rounds. It is so refreshing to get away from all of that for a moment and put into perspective that all of that only matters for a little while, that I just need to keep putting patients first and I can make a difference in my field."
• "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."
Contact Gail Schmidt, director of ophthalmic society relations.