Bernard J. Dolan, OD, MS, president of the American Academy of Optometry
David W. Parke II, MD, chief executive officer of the American Academy of Opthalmology
“There are many clinical settings in which optometrists and ophthalmologists work together very productively throughout the country,” says Bernard J. Dolan, OD, MS, president of the American Academy of Optometry. “We thought if we could come together to develop mutually acceptable educational programs within those areas, it would be a benefit to both our members and the patients that we serve.”
This effort marks the first-ever large-scale, organized effort within the optometry and ophthalmology professions in support of joint educational initiatives.
“Our ultimate goal here is to help our members deliver the best quality, safest, most resource-effective eye care that we can,” says David W. Parke II, MD, chief executive officer of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “We do work together individually in a very positive and collegial fashion and it is the responsibility of both organizations to try to not only meet member needs in this area, but to anticipate what those needs are going to be in the future.”
No details have been decided yet, the organizations’ executives say. The next step is to gather feedback from each group’s members and stakeholders, and begin to explore common areas that will have the most significant impact on members and their patients.
But they aim to take their time and do it right. “Everyone appreciates that the devil’s in the details,” Dr. Parke says. “I think one of the reasons that Dr. Dolan and the Academy of Optometry and myself and the Academy of Ophthalmology are moving very slowly is we want to take the right steps to make this a sustainable relationship.”
The organizations anticipate that these programs will be developed over the next 12 to 18 months, with a formal launch in 2015.
Since the initial announcement, the feedback has been guardedly positive, the executives say.