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Optometry Gives Me Life: A Campaign for Our Future
I didn’t always know that I wanted to become a Doctor of Optometry—just that I loved science, wanted to help people, and didn’t want to pursue traditional medicine. In college, I started researching careers that would marry my love of science with my passion for helping people, and optometry consistently rose to the top. So, I attended optometry school, followed by a PhD in physiological optics, and moved into academia. Optometry has been a wonderful profession, and I am passionate about ensuring its future success.
In my current role as president of Southern College of Optometry, attracting diverse and talented candidates to our program is top of mind. Many of you know that applications to optometry schools have declined somewhat in recent years, as is true for many other health profession institutions. At the same time, the need for our services is increasing, especially as the population continues to age. Addressing this dichotomy is critical for the future of our profession, and I’m excited to share an initiative by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) to help narrow the gap.
Optometry Gives Me Life is a national public awareness campaign launched by ASCO and sponsored by VSP Global to attract qualified candidates to our profession. The campaign features young and successful Doctors of Optometry, highlighting the benefits of a career in this field. Optometry Gives Me Life specifically targets college-aged students with an interest in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) or health profession, and to date the website and corresponding videos have received more than 51 million views. This campaign is reaching the best and brightest students with the message that optometry is a highly desirable career path.
It is awe-inspiring to see the evolution of our profession and consider where we’re headed. There are so many different ways to practice, so many new game-changing technologies—and every year the opportunities increase. As I see it, the key is leveraging campaigns like Optometry Gives Me Life to get that message to the right people, the people who will represent our profession and ensure its future success.