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Back to the GWCO

on October 14th, 2005 | Filed under Optoblog

Like I planned, this morning I caught the bus to the transit center to the MAX to the Oregon Convention Center. It took 50 minutes, but I felt pretty cool because I thought I blended right in. I was wearing my blue water-resistant jacket and an mp3 player around my neck and earphones. I should have been listening to Jon Young, MD’s “As Seen from Here” podcast; however, I was listening to music since I was about to get a lot of CE credits live.

This year all of the GWCO classes are in the OCC (last year the first and last day was in the Double Tree hotel). The AOA president, Dr. Richard Wallingford, OD, was here and spoke a couple times. The big news is the whole InfantSee program and a new PR plan being implemented by a major PR company. To pay for it, all the AOA dues went up by $60 across the board. Also, there will be a monthly e-newsletter updating us on what is happening in Washington D.C. President Wallingford said the AOA has on file about 16,000 e-mail addresses.

When will people start catching on to RSS? The AOA news site would be ideal for RSS feeds, but I suppose they make you log in to read it because it’s a benefit only for registered members. Since they are putting the AOA Washington Update on the e-mail, they should expect it to become public domain through everyone forwarding it on to a (heaven forbid) non dues paying optometrist. So why bother with the E-mail? Just use RSS already!

Dr. Wallingford mentioned there are roughly 400 optometrists effected by the recent hurricanes. A disaster relief fund has been established with VSP, Essilor, and Luxottica leading the donations.

The morning CE was great. The doctor talking about coding sure knows how to side step a question. He should be a politician. I took a class from him later in the afternoon about medical records, and I’ll be he danced around more questions than he answered, yet you gotta love the guy. His Wisconsin accent and demeanor make him endearing. He should really be a politician. He could do the Patomic two step in his sleep!

I went to the PUCO alumni lunch, and wow there was a lot to cover. First, let me say the food was unusually good. They sprung for a very good grilled chicken over a nice salad with bread and cake.

Then they barraged us with a whole lot of awards and big announcements. Among the awards were:

GWCO scholarship: Kelsie Cutler
Award of Appreciation: Leland Carr
PUCO Alumni Service Award: Pat Cummins

Big Huge News:
Lee Carr is leaving his position as Dean of PUCO. Why? The rumor I heard was that he wasn’t “happy.” What does that mean? The rumor wasn’t very specific. I don’t know if health problems played into his decision either. I do recollect something he said in his accepting of his award, “Don’t accept 2nd best. Use your voices to make sure they do this job right.” I think he was referring to the next big news.
PUCO was forced to close their Northeast clinic and they will also be closing their Southeast clinic. What they’re going to do is open a clinic inside the planned Pacific University Health Professions Campus which will be in Hillsboro near Tuality Hospital and touching the MAX line. Phase 1 building (~4 years from now) will include ~5 optometry lanes on the ground floor and an optical. Phase 2 (~15-19 years down the road) will have a huge optometry clinic. Virginia Garcia will also be in Phase 1 (I mention it because I translated at VG).

Lots of miscellaneous news. Dr. Steve Cool retired. Tawna Roberts is on PUCO staff. Dr. Casser says that PUCO’s accreditation is up for re-evaluation in fall 2006. It is based on curriculum, admission criteria, and academic standards. Here’s a hint, PUCO. If you want your ABEO results to get better, don’t let the students surf the web during class! Some current students told me some teachers are cracking down on that (it’s about time). Really, board scores used to be good at PUCO until my class came along. We were the first entering students to get high speed internet available in the classrooms. It was supposed to revolutionize teaching, but it just made us all better at surfing the web. (Anyone remember Elf Bowling, Motocross Madness, Age of Empires?) Sheesh.

More big news is PUCO got some funding to equip every single exam lane with brand new equipment on a 5 year lease. They installed 5 semi-truck trailers-full in one week. They also got an OCT, Gdx, pachy, anterior and posterior segment photography, and corneal topographer. They’re starting a new PUCO retinal diagnostic services clinic that area eye docs can refer for special imaging. You can optionally ask for an interpretation with the report.

Really, there is too much for me to cover. I’m pretty sure we’re all bored reading this now. I’ll quit until tomorrow.

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