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Volume 48, 1998, p. v

Edward L. Raab, M.D.


This has been an eventful year for the American Orthoptic Council in its continuous efforts in behalf of the profession of orthoptics and its members. Recruitment continues as a top priority in response to the increasing demand for orthoptic services. To this end, the Council and the AACO have collaborated on an Internet informational home page which describes and promotes the profession of orthoptics to interested individuals. Our Basic Science Video Course, designed for student orthoptists and allied health professionals, continues to be successfully marketed and widely distributed in the United States and abroad.


The reinstituted Basic Science Course, under the leadership of Heather Macpherson, C.O., was conducted successfully last summer, and will be given again in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The course provides an opportunity for interested candidates to obtain training through a combination of this experience with regional clinical programs, the development of which is a parallel initiative of the Council. These combined programs will add opportunities for persons wanting to enter the profession to obtain fully approved training closer to their own localities. The Council also is exploring ways to attract scholarships and a loan program to assist orthoptic students with their educational expenses.


In another collaborative effort, the Council and the AACO developed a workshop emphasizing the range of contributions by the Orthoptist to the diagnosis and management of children's eye problems. The program, designed by Councillors George Ellis, M.D. and Cindy Pritchard, C.O., was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus in April and was very well received. We hope to have this become a yearly event by continuing to submit high quality offerings to the AAPOS Program Committee.


It should be clear from these descriptions that these are not the efforts of the Council alone. The substantial contributions of Certified Orthoptists, only some of whom are AOC members, were and continue to be necessary. There is an ongoing need for input by the Orthoptist.


First, all Certified Orthoptists can be "recruiting officers" in their own communities. Be available with information and advice to potential orthoptic students. Second, Orthoptists interested in developing a clinical training complement to the Basic Science Course should encourage their employers and other local opthalmologists to join in this effort. Information about educational requirements for such programs can be obtained from the Council's Training and Education Committee. Third, present-day practice models, including the extensive adjustments required under managed care, call for additional efforts to bring orthoptics to the awareness of third party payors. Certified Orthoptists should be prepared to demonstrate in their day-to-day performance that their efforts are of high quality and cost-efficient for their employers' practices.


Edward L. Raab, M.D.
For the American Orthoptic Council