Won't Be Denied

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO July 31, 2012

I am blessed to live on the banks of the Columbia River in Oregon, which sports one of the great spring Chinook salmon runs. For fishermen around here, fishing is a near religious experience, but it is the fish who are the real heroes. Responding to their God-given instincts, the salmon return yearly to their spawning grounds. Against nearly insurmountable odds, they individually overcome dams, fish ladders, seals, sea lions, gill netters, and sport fishermen. They simply will not be denied.

We in optometry would do well to consider the commitment of the salmon. Our history is highlighted by the work of optometric visionaries who would not be denied. The meteoric rise of optometry in healthcare has been the result. But, make no mistake, we still have obstacles to overcome. Healthcare reform, legislative issues, access issues, reimbursement issues, scope of practice, and professional recognition all must be navigated. There is more work to be done.

So how do we get there? Well, I would submit that it will be in the same way that the salmon get there: individual commitment. Because you see, each fish has to return on its own, each has to do its own work.

Step one is for us to continue to provide excellent patient care. But let’s not forget that beyond our patient care we also need to commit time and resources to organized optometry and furthering our profession. So, whether it is contributing to a PAC, befriending a decision-maker, calling a legislator, or motivating a colleague, I believe that we need to commit to doing our part.

As I see it, the success of our profession will be determined by our personal commitment, both in the exam room and the community. Now is a great time to figure out what we can do and join the fight. The head waters are just around the bend; we simply must not be denied.

Looking for someplace to start? Read about key ways healthcare reform could impact your practice and how you can take action.

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