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    Q&A: Lori Grover, OD, PhD, FAAO, senior vice president for health policy at King-Devick Technologies, Inc.

    Public health, advocacy, antiquing, and good guacamole

    Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in Battle Creek, MI, the home of Kellogg’s. [Laughs] I spent my entire life in Michigan all the way through college. My husband Mike and I had gone to college together. We got married two weeks after I graduated from optometry school and a week before he graduated from med school, and we honeymooned in Michigan.

    What drew you to public health, and why should ODs be more involved?

    After Mike finished residency, I opened my own practice in Sylvania, OH. Ohio didn’t have the same scope of driving licensure regulation that Michigan had. I felt my patients were at a real disadvantage in Ohio compared to what they could do if they moved half a mile over the border. I worked with the state of Ohio on expanding Ohio’s driver licensure regulations to be more in alignment with what other states like Michigan were doing. That led to getting involved with Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps—ODs were not authorized in Ohio to see kids on Medicaid the same way that ophthalmologists were, so we changed that. There was a lot of, “Why can’t I do this?” My passion for health care, health delivery science, and health policy drove me to the public health area known as health services research and policy; that’s where I ended up finding a home.

    Previous Q&A: Katherine Schuetz, OD Optometrist at Little Eyes, Carmel, IN

    Why is advocacy for optometry so important?

    I don’t know if you can be an effective optometrist without understanding how we contribute to advocacy every day. It’s what do you do when you’re with patients in your office, how you interact with your community, and how you to promote the health of school children in your area. Are you involved with helping people understand the necessary care for their older parents? Advocacy is important because we have that limitation on what we can do because our scope is regulated. If you’re trying to even out the playing field, and you have a state next door to you where the scope may be a little greater than where you’re practicing, that’s like a thorn under your skin. It gets you going to say, “There’s got to be something I can do to help raise the bar in my state.” We not only have to fight to support the value of optometry and the care we provide, but we have to fight against it being chipped away.

    Was policy writing what got you interested in leadership?

    You mean all the volunteer work I’ve done? [Laughs] I enjoy writing, and I’ve realized in the last decade if you don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen. As optometry representatives and healthcare professionals, we need to be able to communicate what we know that somebody else doesn’t know, making sure people understand evidence that supports what we do and that policy accurately reflects what ODs provide and the value and the scope of what we bring to the table. One of the more important ways to do that is writing, whether it’s policy language, reviewing road-map language, or grants. Words matter. Sometimes it’s one word or the way that something is defined that makes a huge difference and has huge downstream impacts.

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