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December 2015
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NOA Doctors Featured in Recent Issue of Women in Optometry

Dr. Rosalyn Coleman
Dr. Rosalyn Coleman, Dr. Janette Dumas and Dr. Jarrett Johnson were all recently featured in the November 2015 issue of Women in Optometrya publication which focuses on the achievements and contributions of women in the optometric profession. 

Dr. Rosalyn Coleman is a 2010 graduate from Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis, TN. She completed a residency in Pediatrics and Binocular Vision at Nova Southeastern College of Optometry  and currently serves as region III Trustee for the National Optometric Association (NOA).  

Dr. Coleman, who is the owner of Envision Therapy of Atlanta, GA speaks candidly about her journey to business owner and her motivations for opening a vision therapy practice.  She states, "It can be a rat race in primary care, so if you are passionate about low vision or something else, just do it." She continues on to say that, "There are not enough ODs who specialize, and it's necessary.  If you're motivated, you can specialize to help keep your business afloat."  

Janette Dumas OD, FCOVD, FAAO comes from a long line of teachers: her father, aunts, uncles, and even her grandmother received a teaching certificate at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL. However, she did not anticipate becoming an educator when she decided on a career in optometry. 
Dr.Janette Dumas
Dr. Dumas' plans to join a private practice after graduating from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2003 were thwarted during her residency in Pediatrics at Southern College of Optometry, ( SCO). She not only gained experience in examining younger patients, but she also lectured and taught in labs. 

Dr. Dumas then realized that she truly enjoyed teaching; in other words, she caught the teaching bug that had been in her family for years. Didactically, Dr. Dumas teaches second year students and clinically, she teaches third and fourth year students. She is a member of the admissions team at SCO as Coordinator of Minority Recruitment. This allows her to travel throughout the country to speak to undergraduate students about careers in optometry. 

She also coordinates two programs during the summer geared toward underrepresented minorities to increase exposure to optometry; one is for high school students and the other is for college students. Outside of SCO, Dr. Dumas has been a Ronald McDonald House volunteer, a mentor in Big Brother Big Sister program, and a Sunday school teacher. She also is a member of various  professional and civic organizations. 

During the summer of 2015 she was awarded the National Optometric Association's  "Optometrist of the Year" award, which was the catalyst for her feature in Women in Optometry.  In response to the honor, Dr. Dumas says that, "It's very humbling to be held in such high esteem by the NOA. I look up to so many previous honorees, so to be considered in the same category is phenomenal!" 

Dr. Jarrett Johnson
Jarrett Johnson, OD, MPH of New Orleans was also featured in November 2015 amongst the "Women in the NEWS" section of the publication.  She is a graduate of Southern College of Optometry, SCO and has been practicing for more than 20 years.  She graduated from Tulane University, School of Public Health with a Masters in Public Health.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of several entities including the Light House of The Blind.  

In addition to her many accolades, she was recently honored as the Southern College of Optometry's 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient.  

Recent Graduate Touts Merits of Membership 

Nathalie Findlater, O.D.

One of the reasons I became a member of the National Optometric Association (NOA) and why I remain a member is for inspiration. 

Being one of the few minority optometry students in my program, I found that I had a limited perspective of the influence that minorities have on the optometric profession. Walking into my first session at the NOA conference in New Orleans immediately gave me a sense of awe. I felt, "I am not alone," from seeing the number of minority optometrists of all ages. My perspective shifted from one minority optometry student trying to graduate from the College of Optometry to one that also included others that have come before me and those that will come after. 

This perspective, which now included the rich history of the NOA, helped me to believe that I could finish Optometry school knowing that other people like me have finished and are successful.  Now that I am an Optometrist, I know the importance of being a part of the NOA and inspiring the next generation.  

As an Optometrist, I quickly realized that the learning process has only begun. Networking through the NOA has provided me access to successful Optometrists who are willing to mentor me through the various career decisions such as choosing a specialty, mode of practice, and ways to educate and impact the minority community. These mentors have helped me to make wise choices and avoid potential mistakes that I could have made through inexperience or ignorance. 

As I progress in my career and become more successful, I know that I will always be a part of the NOA. I will continue to help recruit and inspire minority students to join our fulfilling profession and positively impact our community.
NOA Website Getting A Makeover
Everyone Must Be Registered on the New System
With the new year comes new innovations. We are making more improvements to our website, newsletters and social media content.  Our brochures and handouts will continue to be readily
available so that we can continue to provide you and your patient base with pertinent information about visual health.  

Please help us to update our membership records. All members (new and current) need to register on our new system Note: Lifetime members will be given special instructions.
Be a Part of the NOA  
Join or Renew Membership Today!

Once again, it is time for our annual membership drive. Your membership and support really means a lot to us and gives us a real boost for the important work we do on behalf of minority Optometrists and the community.

In the coming year we will continue our work in a number of areas including: bringing you top-notch continuing education (CE) at our annual convention,  creating partnerships with the greater optometric community, supporting our members with regional events and CE, and supporting our NOSA members on their journeys to becoming future Optometrists and NOA members. 

This year, we are celebrating our 48th Annual Convention and CE Program. Our annual convention theme for this year, "Contemporary Issues in Optometry" (July 6-10, 2016 at The Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL), reflects our focus for the coming year of propelling us into the future of optometry. By focusing on current developments we will be addressing the future needs of the profession and our patient population.  

By joining the National Optometric Association, you are making an investment that pays huge dividends! With your membership you will continue to have exclusive access to one of the best and affordable optometric professional organizations in the country.  In addition, you will help to ensure that we continue to grow and meet the needs of an ever-changing optometric landscape.

Here are some of the new 2016 membership benefits: 
  • Personalized membership card with assigned numbers (for security) 
  • Members' Private Page & NOA Handbook access, job seekers' list, OD forum 
  • Free 30-day job postings to members 
  • Free regional CE events 
  • Discounted membership with various alliance groups 
  • Discounted office apparel to promote your office 
  • Voting rights 
  • Discounts on annual meeting and national events
Thank you again for your help in making this a successful membership campaign. Please continue to share the goals and work of the NOA with people you know and the community. You can help us spread the word by encouraging others to become members and become part of our vision.  

Remember the NOF Charity 

The National Optometric Foundation (NOF) is the philanthropic arm of the NOA. By supporting the NOF you are supporting efforts to provide scholarships to optometric students, support the educational activities of the NOA, and establish ways to increase visual health awareness among minorities. 

The recent publication of the book "Optometric Vision Therapy, the Need in Minority Populations" by our second NOA President, the late Dr. James Washington is now available at the NOA home office, as well as the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEP).   
Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to support NOF Scholarships.  Dr. Washington was insistent that NOA members not only focus on eye health issues prevalent in the African American community but also on visual health issues such as vision-based learning problems. He said, "It is time to seal the cracks through which our children fall and optometric vision therapy is a sealant that is overlooked not only in minority communities, but among the populace at large as well."

Please support the book sale and remember NOF during this Holiday Season of giving. 

'Tis the season of giving. Let us go forth into the New Year with charity in our hearts, uplifting, kind words in our speech, and a renewed vigor for sharing our innate gifts. Happy Holidays from the National Optometric Association!
Dedicated Member and Past President Speaks

Cynthia Heard, O.D., FAAO NOA 19th President, 2003-05
I became a member of NOA/NOSA during my first year of optometry school. I attended my first convention in 1989 in St. Louis, MO. It was there that I met Drs. Powell and Howlette, the NOA Founders. I also met Dr. Mel Shipp, at one of the social functions who simply introduced himself as "Mel." I was so impressed by the number of minority optometrists in one room! I had just completed my first year of optometry school at Ohio State University College of Optometry and was the only African American among 250 optometry students. This vantage point was completely different from the view I had lived for the last year. I knew a few minority optometrists, however I had no idea I would rub elbows with so many accomplished individuals who happen to be mostly African American optometrists!

Since that first convention, I have attended many other annual conventions and have gotten acquainted with even more illuminating individuals who have changed my life for the better, professionally and personally.  I have been mentored and have mentored other doctors through endeavors that we all were uniquely qualified to manage.  We have no choice about the biological families into which we are birthed, however, when we have a choice to attach ourselves to others with similar dreams and goals in life, it is quite special. The NOA became a second family to me and has helped me become an optometric leader. I would not have had the same opportunities in another organization. Now. I usher other potential leaders along as they learn their way within the profession and organized optometry.

I feel truly blessed that my potential was tapped into by NOA past leaders who invited me to serve on the Executive Board, as National President, and now the NOF Board. I serve my profession in a way that lines up with my most valued commitments in life. I awaken every morning with the goal of touching someone else's life in a meaningful way. I do this through my daily work in a setting managing the visual needs of patients and educational needs of students. I now realize that the only people who care as much about recruiting more African Americans to the profession as I do are other African Americans. We all have to decide to devote our time, money, and talents in life and get about the business of doing it.

The NOA must still champion the cause for which it was first established.  The 1970s saw a substantial increase in the numbers of minority optometrists, especially African Americans, in the U.S. because of funded grant and recruitment programs during that time.  The recruitment and practice rates of African Americans in the optometric profession have been flat for over three decades.  It has been a challenge establishing a qualified pipeline to continue marching individuals through the doors of all optometric programs. Medicine and dentistry have fared better because industry has taken up the slack to finance recruitment efforts once government grants went away. Committed individuals within organizations such as the NOA keep showing up and doing the work because we see the benefits of becoming leaders within our communities and profession.

It is a pleasure to have been an NOA member since 1988. I look forward to continuing that tradition into retirement.  Retiring from the NOA is not an option.  There are still younger members and leaders to mentor and I hope to do so for many years to come.
Increasing Optometric Awareness at Langston University

Langston University is the only HBCU located in Oklahoma and is the undergraduate Alma Mater of our very own National Optometric Association member, Dr. Shabree Nichols.  Dr. Nichols attended and graduated from Langston prior to attending Northeastern State University College of Optometry.
Dr. Nichols collaborated with NOA Region IV Trustee, Dr. Valenta Carter in hosting an event November 9, 2015 to increase awareness of the optometric profession and the mission of the NOA.  She was joined with a member of the administration team from NSUCO, Becky Campos, in bringing awareness and recruitment into the university.  The event consisted of the Dean of Biology, many science professors, and twenty-five freshmen and sophomore students.  This event proved to be very rewarding for the students and broadened their knowledge of the profession and the support of the NOA.  

2016 Convention
Contemporary Issues In Optometry

Mark your calendar for NOA'S 48th Annual Convention 
The Palmer House Hotel
July 6-10, 2016, Chicago, IL