2020- 2021 UOA Board

A Farewell from Past President Dr. Court Wilkins:

Dear Utah Optometric Association Members, 
 It has been a sincere pleasure to have represented the Optometrists of the Great State of Utah for the past year! We are going through unprecedented times together and have been successful as a group of dedicated doctors. I cannot thank the entire UOA board enough; they all worked hard to make this year go as smoothly as possible. I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Paul Bruderer our past president who has worked tirelessly to promote Optometry and to Dr. Robin Price who has been a king pin in the workings of the board for years. The UOA board has benefited greatly because of their dedication. We welcome Dr. Ian Whipple as the new President as he is a superior doctor and leader he will serve Utah Optometrist with unprecedented enthusiasm and zeal! 
Even though the unexpected pandemic threw us all for a loop we accomplished quite a bit through this past year. Here are just a few accomplishments we achieved together this past year: The UOA was able to have a very successful legislative day on the Hill where we meet with a record number of Senators and Legislators to foster better relationships with our lawmakers. This lead to the successful passing of SB 23 bill which makes it against statute to have non-OD employers dictate how optometrists practice. Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Mark Taylor this bill passed. We added another day to our free MEGA CE which allowed for more than 60 more doctors to attend. We were able to broker a deal with GWCO and Dr. Judkins, current President of GWCO, so over 60 doctors could have FREE attendance at GWCO. UOA is very forward thinking and has been working on a new on-line resource that each individual member will benefit with new patients in their practice. This will be unveiled later this year. The UOA has continued to add membership as we find new ways to support each other and give value to membership. Dr. Jarrod Davies and Dr. Robin Price have put in hundreds of hours and we have finally gotten support from AOA to start the process to make a new code for VT procedures. Our out dated by-laws have been re-written and are in final review of that process. We had a new school of optometry announced in the Provo area. Even though the stock market has been up and down we still have remained on the up-swing in our market account, so our finances have weather the COVID storm so far. 
I look forward to a fantastic new year, one that isn’t plagued with so many challenges that we have faced in the last 6 months. I wanted to give a big thanks to Alyssa, she keeps all the moving parts working and going in the right direction. Her dedication to the UOA is unrivaled. I look forward to continuing to rub shoulders with all of the outstanding Utah Optometrists in our effort to promote the great profession of Optometry! 
With Kindest Regards,
Court R. Wilkins OD, FAAO, MHS  
A Video Welcome Message from New President Dr. Ian Whipple:

Thank you all for your support and assistance to the UOA. I hope to represent Utah optometry well this year as your president. Perhaps in no other time has there been the need to re-evaluate and adjust our goals than this year. I hope this short video explains what I mean.

One thing I truly believe about organized optometry in Utah is that the doctors and their staff members are resilient. I have spoken with doctors throughout this pandemic who are reinventing their office protocols and redefining what the patient experience looks and feels like. We have seen optometrists manage emergency care which would have otherwise been treated in crowded ERs and primary care settings. Utah OD's have made very difficult decisions to ensure that their office will be able to thrive again. The pandemic and the equality movements have forced us all to question our priorities and motives in everything we do.

I look at all of this as an opportunity. Opportunity to show our patients, employees, and ourselves who we are and what we stand for. I urge us all to consider how we can stand up for patient and employee safety as well as be an example on the front lines leading to positive change and greater equality.

Committee updates for the UOA:
Membership: My membership vision for this year is to retain doctor members of the UOA and seek out the best ideas from our diverse membership. I would like to specifically focus on outreach to have more diversity of voices represented in the UOA leadership both on the board and the committees.

Finance: Our rainy day account is still growing. We are achieving high financial stability which may become more useful during uncertain times.

Education: We are thrilled that so many doctors are taking advantage of CE from GWCO which the UOA provided at no cost to its members. We were disappointed that we had to cancel the June convention as well as the St. George meeting and the Mega CE events. These decisions were unanimous and, as disappointing as it may be, the board feels comfortable that we have set safety and social responsibility as the top priorities.  

Legislative: The AOA at a national level is still fighting the proposed changes to the contact lens rule and there may still be some hope that this rule will be amended, delayed, or defunded. In the meantime I urge us all to consider ways that we can implement this rule in our practices. This may become more of an opportunity than hassle if we can better direct the conversation with our patients as a result of this ruling.

I'm proud that the AOA and many state member affiliates (including Utah) as well as dozens of Utah OD's have donated financial support in optometry's scope of practice fight in Arkansas. I am proud that so many recognize that this is a battle that has ramifications that extend well beyond Arkansas state lines. Please consider a continued contribution to the UOA / AOA PAC. 

Thank you all again for your membership and support to the Utah Optometric Association. I am confident that we can do great things together this year. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me any time.

Ian Whipple, President UOA 2020-2021

A Video of the UOA Board Sworn in Virtually

An AOA Video Update

As Always, thank you for your UOA/AOA Membership!

The Utah Optometric Association