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Happenings in American Optometry Academy, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015


6-9th October 2015

New Orleans

This year’s American Academy at New Orleans, definitely saw a lot more of Indian optometry than any other previously. The academy was held at New Orleans convention centre from 6th -9th October 2015. As Optometry Council of India representative I participated in the following events:

1.Meeting with Juan Carlos Aragon: Chair of Optometry Giving Sight: 6th October 2015

Juan Carlos Aragon was presented with a folder of OCI. In the folder was included the list of achievements, the registration policy document, the CE credit points document and the flyer of OCI. During the meeting it was understood that the OGS board will be changing. It was presented that OCI will need OGS support for the next two years until more staff are employed by OCI. The organization in itself is going through a lot of change as Prof. Brien Holden is no more. BHVI which is an integral part of OCI, also is going through changes, therefore, we cannot assume that going forward there would be much support.

2.American optometry Association:

OCI has been having dialogue with the American optometry Association for a long time. We did explain that membership into AOA should come through OCI, as then AOA are assured of graduates and also people graduated from quality institutes. AOA has agreed upon this. They has a list of 9 registrants from India. Out of these 9 registrants when we checked, 6 were OCI registered and the other 3 were not. We will be writing back to AOA regards this. The other 3 are not graduates and the AOA will be made aware of the same.

There were also dialogue about the fee structure for international members and I did explain the concern of the fee being high. AOA agreed and they would reduce the fee to almost 50% of the present 89USD. In addition to this, I also requested that all their material for practitioners, if they could be tailor made for the practitioner, and the answer was, they could do that easily. This would benefit practitioners and also be a great tool in increasing awareness among the public about eye care.

3.Meeting with Australian Educators regards accreditation:

Ms. Lakshmi Shinde, CEO, Optometry Council of India met with a few Australian policy makers in optometry and members of a team which does accreditation of colleges in Australia and New Zealand. Lakshmi was also joined by Dr Shrikanth Bharadwaj from India, who was attending the academy. The Australian team members consisted of Dr Fiona Stapleton (dean of UNSW), Micheal Kallonitis (UNSW), Barbara Junghinson ( UNSW), Dr James Armitage (Deakin University), Dr Craig Woods ( Deakin University).

The interaction was positive, in the sense of them helping the train the Indian educators. They were willing to help in whatever way possible. It was made very clear that funding is an issue. They have asked us to write for grants, and get some funding, later they could come to India or some educators could travel to Sydney, to have a brain storm session about the way the accreditation needs to move forward.

There was some feedback on the accreditation document as well.

Proposal: Once 80G comes through, OCI will look at writing a project proposal, and getting a grant for 2 projects, one for a grandfather clause meeting, and the other for a meeting with Australian educators who are definitely keen to help.

4.Meeting with Dr Lakshman Subbaraman ( CCLR) (Univ of Waterloo, Cannada):

Ms. Lakshmi Shinde met with Dr Lakshman Subbaraman, of the CCLR, University of Waterloo, Cannada. He was interested in OCI, and has promised 5-8 Indians would register with OCI from Waterloo.

However the administrative work for adding a line in the University admission form (if you are an Indian, are you OCI registered), that is being looked into.

A suggestion was also to write to IOBP; International Optometry Bridging Program which takes an exam for overseas optometrist and once they pass they register. Dr Lakshman suggested that he will liaise with IOBP so that OCI becomes a verification agency for Indian applications.

5.Meeting with American Academy of Optometry:

Ms, Lakshmi Shinde met with the president of the Academy Dr Bret Bence. The meeting was an international session to receive feedback on the academy. Ms. Lakshmi Shinde represented India. At the end of the discussion, it was evident that the academy will look into reducing registration fee, and Fellowship exam registration for international registration. For India, again it will be for OCI registered members.

In addition to all these meetings, I should also add that the tricoulour of India shone high at this years academy.  India had 7 Fellows of Academy this year. Dr Ravi Bakaraju, received the award of Irvin M and Beatrice Borish Award for young scientist who has made outstanding contribution to optometry, the India team received the award for Essilor award for International contribution to optometry. It was a year for INDIAN SHINNING at New Orleans!!!