To further its advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession and patients, the American Optometric Association (AOA) launched the AOA Health Policy Institute, a policy think tank that will develop evidence-based research, analysis, and solutions in health care policy.
During his inaugural address to the AOA's House of Delegates during Optometry's Meeting in Washington, D.C., Christopher J. Quinn, OD, president of the AOA, underscored the importance of continuing to focus on health care policy issues as they relate to eye health care and the profession's place in the overall health care arena.
"It has become critical for us to provide our leadership and staff with improved tools and expertise to carry out our mission," Dr. Quinn said in a news release. "By bringing experts from inside and outside of the profession, we can work carefully to analyze information and evidence and then use that material to guide policy development and advance our profession and patient eye health and vision care."
Through the delivery of in-person, comprehensive eye exams, doctors of optometry, America's family eye doctors, help ensure precise and healthy vision, identify and treat eye diseases and conditions, and provide early diagnosis of threats to overall health, including hypertension, stroke and diabetes.
HPI will be under the direction of past president Steven A. Loomis, OD, and AOA staff member, Rodney Peele, JD, as director. Dr. Quinn noted that the AOA envisions that the HPI will build on and supplement the work begun by the National Commission on Vision and Health (NCVH) almost 10 years ago. The NCVH, a national, nonpartisan group of public health leaders-including leading doctors of optometry-works to improve the nations' visual health by helping assure access to vision care as an integrated part of public health programs at the national, state and local levels.
"Policymakers and the public often need assistance from AOA to better understand how trends and changes in health care policy affect eye health and vision care," Dr. Quinn noted. "The Health Policy Institute will provide that expertise."