ABO Expands Efforts to Engage Residents and Students
When surveying optometrists prior to the development of our new certificate of added qualification (CAQ) program, support for board certification and interest in subspecialization was notably higher among those who were less than 10 years out of optometry school and those who were pursuing or had completed a residency. In the Optometry Subspecialty Research Study released by Jobson Optical Research in 2023, support for recognition of subspecialties also trended higher among younger optometrists and optometry students.
Engaging optometrists on the importance of board certification early in their career, or even before graduation from optometry school, is vital not only to the continued growth of ABO, but more importantly for each individual optometrist and the overall profession. Optometry, like many other health professions, has become increasingly aligned with medicine and board certification, while voluntary, is the recognized credential for excellence in patient care.
Working with our school ambassadors, ABO recently kicked off a campaign to educate fourth-year students and residents on the board certification process, the professional as well as personal benefits of earning their board certification, and the opportunity to earn an added credential focusing on a specific practice area, by earning a CAQ.
Our first presentation was held in November at Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University College of Optometry, where we provided refreshments, a brief presentation, and a Q&A session for a receptive group of students and residents. With 10 more presentations scheduled through 2024, we hope to connect with a significant number of soon-to-be or newly licensed optometrists each year.
“Today’s optometry students are very well trained and are entering a workplace where practicing to the full extent of their education and training is more likely than ever,” said Dr. Cathy Hines, ABO’s Director of Education and Assessment. “And as more optometric practices move toward medical eye care, ABO’s certificate of added qualification (CAQ) program offers further recognition of advanced clinical experience in a focused practice area.” As we welcome new optometrists into a rewarding career, and recognize the challenges that they will face, ABO will continue to support quality patient care by providing an objective evaluation of competence and a path for maintaining competence through lifelong learning and assessment.
For information on having an ABO representative speak at your school, please contact April Wilhelm, Executive Director, at [email protected].
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