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  • A Year of Engagement: 2023 President Daniel J. Briceland on Why the Future Is Bright for YOs

    Dan Briceland, MD

    Daniel J. Briceland, MD, became the 127th president of the Academy on Jan. 1 after spending decades running his ophthalmology practice in Arizona and dedicating a large portion of his career to supporting Academy advocacy efforts.

    Now leading the Academy’s community of 32,000 ophthalmologists, he faces an especially exciting set of new challenges and is particularly focused on scope of practice battles and Medicare reimbursement as his top priorities for the upcoming year. 

    A graduate and past director of the Academy’s Leadership Development Program (LDP), Dr. Briceland continues to mentor and teach young ophthalmologists. He is passionate about encouraging YOs to invest in their own growth. 

    Dr. Briceland recently sat down with YO Info to offer his take on what the future holds for YOs and the importance of engaging in advocacy to safeguard your profession and your patients.

    Why is it important for all YOs to become involved in advocacy?

    Dr. Briceland: Advocacy is inherent in all professions but seriously amplified in medicine due to the enormous cost of health care in the United States. There are major stakeholders involved, including Big Pharma, hospitals and insurance companies in addition to the largest player — the federal and state governments. If YOs do not get involved, our ability to practice will be continually determined by others without medical degrees. And so we have to be part of the ongoing discussions or our patients and profession will clearly suffer with burdensome practice policies such as prior authorizations, step therapy, limited drug panels and worthless [electronic health record] demands.

    Why are you optimistic about the future of ophthalmology for young ophthalmologists?

    Dr. Briceland: The future is bright for YOs, as the overwhelming need for eyecare only continues to grow! Our senior population of over 54 million is the fastest-growing group. And they will certainly require the skills of all YOs to help manage the demand in virtually every corner of the United States. Ophthalmology’s fascination with technology only continues to grow as well and amplifies our ability to practice with such a high satisfaction rate.

    What are the best ways for YOs to get involved in advocacy?

    Dr. Briceland: All YOs have exceptional advocacy skills, whether they know it or not, as their years of training and interactions with patients and colleagues mirror advocacy skills. Advocacy simply involves using those same skills to educate decision-makers at the state, regional and federal levels. 

    This is best accomplished by joining your national, state and local ophthalmology societies to educate yourself on the critical issues of the day. In addition, sign up for the Academy’s Washington Report Express email newsletter is an easy read to find out more about the activities of the Academy’s Governmental Affairs division and how you can help on the national level. Take the additional step of following any calls to action by clicking on the “Act Now!” buttons and submitting your support for quality eye care for all. This generally takes less than a few minutes and amplifies our national and state efforts.

    What are some of your fondest first memories of becoming an advocate?

    Dr. Briceland: The enthusiasm and energy around advocating for our patients is inspiring. The issues all focus on values that are at the heart of the Academy’s mission statement: “Protecting sight and empowering lives.” Our ophthalmology advocates are all driven by a common determination to preserve the quality and safety of eye care for all, which requires a constant level of engagement at the federal and state levels.

    Why is the Academy’s Leadership Development Program so important?

    Dr. Briceland: The Academy LDP is but one avenue to refine your leadership skills as you move forward in your career development. This yearlong program allows you to network with other future leaders and provide an in-depth understanding of the various divisions of the Academy along with the significant amount of resources available throughout your career.

    We look forward to seeing more of Dr. Briceland this year, as well as during the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum and AAO 2023 in San Francisco.