The Academy recognized the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with the 2016 Commitment to Advocacy award last month during the annual meeting of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. The university’s ophthalmology department has prioritized educating young ophthalmologists about the importance of advocating for their patients and profession.
The University of Iowa’s chair of ophthalmology, Keith Carter, MD (middle left), and ophthalmology residency program director, Thomas A. Oetting, MS, MD (middle right), are honored by Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD, and Academy Secretary for State Affairs Kurt Heitman, MD.
“Our department leadership encourages us as residents to become actively involved,” said Steven M. Christiansen, MD, a third-year ophthalmology resident at the University of Iowa. “We have recently faced several important scope-of-practice battles in Iowa, prompting us as an academic department to team up with local ophthalmologists to communicate the importance of eye surgery by ophthalmologists to our state and national leaders.”
The award honors a training program for commitment to the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador Program, which helps residents and fellows attend the Mid-Year Forum and Congressional Advocacy Day. As a 2016 advocacy ambassador, Dr. Christiansen said he got firsthand exposure to critical issues facing the profession, and a chance to meet with federal legislators.
“A personal highlight for me was sitting alongside my department chair and the Academy’s president-elect, Keith Carter, MD,” Dr. Christiansen said. “We spoke with our state leaders about several important legislative issues and their impact on the delivery of eye care to our patients in Iowa and throughout our nation.”
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About the author: Mike Mott is a former assistant editor for EyeNet Magazine and contributing writer for YO Info.