Eyecare Business April

APR 2017

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A ndrea P. Thau was elected presi- dent of the American Optometric Association (AOA) in July 2016. She also chairs the AOA's Execu- tive and Agenda committees, and sits on several others. She is the owner of a four-doctor private practice in New York City that has a special emphasis on children's vision and vision therapy. EB caught up with Dr. Thau to talk about the AOA agenda and the legislative challenges facing private optometry. You've been involved in the AOA leader- ship since 2007, and before that you were involved in the leadership on your state level. What motivated you to get involved? Improving our nation's eye health and advanc- ing the profession of optometry make up the fabric of who I am. I not only want to participate, but want to help set the future course of our pro- fession and health care. My late father, optometrist Dr. Edwin C. Thau, was an exceptional role model for me, with an absolute passion for optometry. He was a local society president of the New York State Optometric Association and a member of its Board of Trustees. I grew up attending annual state meetings, see- ing the camaraderie of optometrists, and seeing firsthand that the gains made were the result of hours and hours of volunteer commitment. I inher- ited a wonderful profession that has advanced based on his efforts and those of the many prior volunteers who came before me. I knew I had an obligation to pay it forward, which I have been happy to do. You are a founding member of the InfantSEE Committee and served on multiple boards that deal with children's vision. What draws you to children's vision? Like many of my colleagues, I've seen firsthand what can happen when a child doesn't receive proper eye care early on. From developmental delays to difficulties in the classroom to problems with social interaction, the repercussions can be lifelong. We owe it to our nation's children to ensure that all have access to comprehensive, in-person eye exams starting in the first year of life. The AOA is very involved in the regulatory and legislative issues that affect optometry. What do you hope to accomplish there? In the beginning of my presidency, I mapped out four strategic pillars to focus our efforts that would help our members be successful: â Advocacy â Tools to help advance optometric practices and provide the best possible patient care â Continuing education â Public awareness I'm committed to ensuring that the organiza- tion advances its legislative and practice author- ity goals, thereby ensuring that patient care is 5 Questions for… AOA President Andrea P. Thau, O.D. 30 E y e c a r e B u s i n e s s . c o m April 2017 ›› T R E N D S P O T T I N G : F I R S T P E R S O N Andrea P. Thau, O.D. I not only want to participate, but want to help set the future course of our profession and health care.

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