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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

     

    How do you keep high-quality education in optometry school affordable?

    That was one of the biggest challenges I had when I arrived [at Salus University]. I think that one thing all programs need to have is transparency, especially from executive leadership on down. There has to be a team approach to looking at costs, class size, and the curriculum. With technology, it’s looking at what traditional ways do we need to teach and how we can take advantage of virtual classrooms and hybrid education to alleviate cost. Education certainly has challenges it needs to address in how to utilize these technological advances to effectively train both didactically and clinically the future of our profession. My pet peeve is we need to have a focus not just on optometric care. We need to build in from Day One a fundamental knowledge base of healthcare delivery as a whole because without understanding the greater healthcare arena, it’s very difficult to know how you can evolve into it when you’re coming out of school. This is important as well for continuing education for people who are already practicing, helping them to understand how we can prioritize a global view of health care.

    What one big thing do you advise new ODs?

    I give them the same advice that I was given when I got out of school: Experience everything. You don’t want to narrow what you want to do, you want to experience as many different settings as you can because it will help you refine your focus on how you want to move your career forward.

    Related Q&A: Aaron Tarbett, OD, WG Hefner VA Medical Center, Salisbury, NC

    Why did you move from an academic career to industry?

    I never had to leave what I would consider academia behind. I’ve been able to continue to work not only with our optometric institutions but also other healthcare institutions. I saw this as an opportunity to combine all of the passions that I have. As you get older, you start seeing in much clearer, sharp focus what you want to do and how you want to get there. You start appreciating certain pathways more than others.

    What’s one thing about optometry as it stands now that you’d like to change?

    How the nation perceives doctors of optometry. What I mean by that is after 27 years of practice, a week does not go by where you see someone equating doctor of optometry with glasses or refraction. Not to minimize that; refraction is just as important as any surgical procedure for many people. The way that we’re perceived as someone who is just prescribing glasses is not comprehensive enough. How health care, especially the rest of medicine, sees and understands what doctors of optometry do—that I would love to see changed to accurately reflect our role. We are the only ones who have the didactic and clinical training to follow from birth to death, from the beginning of primary care all the way to tertiary care and improving quality of life through vision rehabilitation. We own that entire spectrum—that’s what I want the nation to know.

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