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From the President

Reflections on 2011

As the first decade of this new millennium has drawn to a close, we're proud to note that JCAHPO has increased the delivery of certification and education to the global continuum of ophthalmic medical technicians. Expansion of certification and education now reaches from Pakistan, China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, to the West Indies. Our CE footprint grows every year.

We continue to make exceptional ophthalmological training and continuing education instantly available to tens of thousands of users through our E-learning site, ACTIONED & our continuing Webinar series. ACTIONED has a growing catalog of over 150 courses and assessments, and we continue to add new content every month. Even the much-lauded JCAHPO Learning Systems are now available on ACTIONED.

In 2010, we developed the first module in a planned series of training courses on the adoption and use of Electronic Health Records (EHR), thanks to an unrestricted educational grant from Compulink. We are prepared to launch the second EHR module in January 2012.

We are also pleased to announce that Essilor of America has recently provided JCAHPO with a host of educational content related to optics and optical dispensing that will vastly expand the offerings available on ACTIONED.

In keeping with JCAHPO's tradition of excellence in computer-simulated testing, we proudly launched the COMT Performance Test Simulation this year. We are proud to say this is one of the finest computer simulation examinations to date and we are recognized for this by many, including the International Test Publishing community.

Just as your practice grows and changes, so do we...but our mission stays constant "to enhance the quality and availability of ophthalmic patient care by promoting the value of qualified allied health personnel and by providing certification and education."

We wish you a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to working with you in 2012!

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ACE Roundup 2011

THANK YOU to the more than 2,400 ophthalmic medical professionals who attended JCAHPO's 39th Annual Continuing Education Program, October 21-24, in Orlando, FL! Those who were able to join us attended over 300 hours of lectures and hands-on workshops and had 90 new courses to choose from. We enjoyed seeing many of our "old friends" and meeting many new ones! We hope everyone who attended had a great experience and learned new things. It is our goal to provide you with new information each year that you apply to your daily routine to help you improve your skills as well as can take back to your office and share with coworkers and enhance your patient's experience. Click here to view photos from ACE 2011.

If you were unable to attend the ACE Program, don't worry-we've got 16 regional programs lined up for 2012, in addition to monthly webinars! Check out our calendar of events by clicking here.

Virginia Boyce Service Award

Congratulations to Martha Moos, BS, COMT, on receiving the Virginia Boyce Service Award during the JCAHPO Foundation Awards Reception, Friday, October 21. The Virginia Boyce Service Award honors ophthalmic medical technicians who have made outstanding voluntary public service contributions in the field of eye care.

Martha has been committed to the ophthalmic profession for more than 30 years. She has been highly involved in the training of new technicians, and operates at the highest level of service in her retina practice. She has been continually certified by JCAHPO, first as a COT in 1976, then as a COMT in 1984, and then earning the Ophthalmic Surgical Assisting sub-specialty in 1987.

Above and beyond service to her practice, Martha has been involved in medical mission trips to assist in rural outreach clinics. On the island nation of St. Vincent, she served as a volunteer to screen patients for diabetic retinopathy. Martha's expertise was put to use setting up much needed equipment in the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown, where she assisted in many types of surgery.

At the Pacific Eye Institute in Fiji, Martha conducted training for 18 ophthalmic nurses and assistants, while also serving as an accreditation evaluator and exam proctor.

For her commitment to her patients, her profession, the international ophthalmic community, as well as her service on the JCAHPO Board of Commissioners and as the President of ATPO, we congratulate and thank Martha.

In 2012, The Virginia S. Boyce Service Award is being renamed The Virginia S. Boyce Humanitarian Award. It is presented from time to time, but not more frequently than on an annual basis, to ophthalmic medical technicians, preferably JCAHPO-certified, who have made outstanding voluntary public service contributions in the assistance of eye care and prevention of vision loss. Nominations are now being accepted. Email us at jcahpo@jcahpo.org or visit the Awards Criteria page.

2011 Statesmanship Awards

Each year, JCAHPO honors individuals who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the field of ophthalmology. The 2011 Statesmanship Awards were presented October 21 during the JCAHPO Foundation awards reception.

JCAHPO was pleased to announce not one, but two Commissioner Statesmanship Awards. As we have passed our 40 year anniversary as an organization, and as we approach the 40th anniversary of the ACE Program in 2012, we felt it important to honor the contributions of those whose tremendous efforts have enabled JCAHPO to be the organization it is today. These two awards were given posthumously. The dedication and passion the two honorees gave to their work lives on in the high standards of skill and merit that JCAHPO recognizes.

Whitney Sampson, MD, was a prolific ophthalmologist and physician, who was also a great leader in the field of ophthalmic and public health. Dr. Sampson joined the U.S. Public Health Service in 1962, which helped set the stage for his involvement as a charter member of the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology. His leadership in Public Health, and as a charter member of JCAHPO, are mirrored by his leadership roles as President of CLAO in 1975, President of the Texas Ophthalmological Society in 1975-76, and as President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology from 1980-1981. He continued his service to these, and other organizations, as an active board member of AAO, CLAO, the American Intraocular Implant Society (AIIS), JCAHPO, the Texas Ophthalmological Association, and the Houston Ophthalmological Society. Dr. Sampson also authored or co-authored 32 medical journal publications and authored three textbooks.

Dr. Sampson's daughter, Linda Sampson Cox, and his grand-daughter, Natalie, were present and honored to accept this award on his behalf.

Phil H. Weber, COMT, CRA, spent his life in service to the advancement of ophthalmic training and knowledge. He was an active member in several ophthalmic and allied health organizations, including ATPO and JCAHPO. He served as a JCAHPO commissioner from 1986 to 1994 and was elected as JCAHPO's Secretary of Certification as well as serving on the Executive Committee. In 2003, the JCAHPO Education and Research Foundation established a scholarship dedicated in his honor. This scholarship funds ATPO members in need of continuing education.

Lois Weber sent her heartfelt appreciation and accepting on behalf of the family of Phil Weber, was longtime family friend and fellow OMP, Mr. Ron Dykes.

The 2011 Non-Commissioner Statesmanship Award was presented to Doctor, Professor, and Ophthalmic Education Pioneer, Mark O.M. Tso.

Professor Tso is a visionary leader, outstanding physician-scientist, accomplished researcher, and an inspirational teacher who has set the dissemination of knowledge as his highest priority throughout his entire career. He has conducted teaching sessions and classrooms in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region including China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Australia, and Hong Kong.

He was elected Vice-President in charge of ophthalmic education of The International Council of Ophthalmology in 1998, a position he held until his appointment as Director of Education in 2006. Dr. Tso has helped establish seven ICO task forces that worked to enhance the curricula and education standards of residents, and ophthalmic and other allied health personnel.

Dr. Tso worked diligently with the ICO Board of Trustees to gain their endorsement and recognition of the importance of ophthalmic allied personnel internationally.

Professor Tso has devoted his entire professional career to the advancement of excellence and life-long learning for ophthalmology and the eye care team. In light of this life of dedication, we are proud to present him with this award that he richly deserves.

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2012 Save the Date and Call for Instructors!

Be sure to mark your calendar for the 40th anniversary of the ACE Program November 9-12, 2012 in Chicago, IL. It may be a year away, but for us, the work has already begun. We're looking for OMT that would like to instruct or co-instruct in the hands-on workshops. We'll provide you with all the tools and a small group of students---You provide your knowledge, skills, and experience. You'll also earn CE credits in the process that you can apply to your recertification. Why not take your career to the next level? Email Ashley at agudex@jcahpo.org or click here to submit an instructor form.

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Ophthalmic Medical Technicians' Week

The 2nd Annual Ophthalmic Medical Technician's Week was observed November 6 - 12 and was celebrated around the country. Many of you posted on our Facebook wall about the various ways you celebrated... here are a few of your comments:

"We have already started our 'Nominate Your Favorite Ophthalmic Tech' contest!!! We will also be doing trivia next week where any tech who answers correctly wins a gift card!!"

"We had a wonderful celebration lunch yesterday at our office, lots of food and fun. We used this time to recognize our new COA's with lapel pins - a new tradition at our office."

"We have posters hung throughout the office & have had other departments follow our techs to see what we do in clinic each day."

"Celebrating our new COA graduates and all of our awesome technicians with special lunch. Tuesday of this week one of our physicians brought sundaes to thank everyone for all their hard work."

"I created a Bingo game for my fellow technicians containing various ophthalmic terminology for a tech meeting next week.... "

Here at the JCAHPO & ATPO office, we spent the week celebrating YOU with trivia & contests, via Facebook & Twitter, and gave away many great prizes including free online courses and webinars, gift certificates, ATPO flash cards, and more. THANKS for all you do!

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ATPO 2011 Salary & Benefits Report

ATPO is pleased to announce the new 2011 Salary and Benefits Report is now a membership benefit. All ATPO members will have access to the FULL report on ATPO's new Members Only page. ATPO strives to provide their members with additional membership benefits and are very pleased to offer this valuable report in its entirety to all ATPO members.

The Salary and Benefits Report will no longer be available on the JCAHPO order form. It will only be available through the purchase of an ATPO membership. Visit www.atpo.org and join your professional organization today!

*All non-ATPO member Salary Survey participants will receive an Executive Summary of the 2011 Report in December via email. If you participated and did not receive a copy of the Executive Summary, please call ATPO at (800) 482-2848.

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Coming Soon...New Career Web site!

This will be a great new tool for anyone interested in learning about ophthalmic medical assisting, wanting to know how to get into the field, and helping them to make a wise career choice into a field with high demand! The U.S. Department of Labor indicates employment of medical technicians in fields such as ophthalmology ranks THIRD on the list of "30 Fastest-Growing Occupations in the United States." The Web site will offer a plethora of information, from how to get started, to salary and benefits, to becoming certified and more.

Stay tuned for the launch announcement!

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Tech Life

Ophthalmic Medical Assisting-More Than Just Assisting

by Margie V. Wilson, COMT

Like many OMP, I started out in the optical field back in 1978. After two years, an ophthalmologist purchased the optical shop. The doctor, pleased with my work ethic, asked me if I had an interest in learning the front office procedures of his practice and so I eagerly entered the OMP field. Six months later a tech left and he asked me if I wanted to train in the back office. What a fabulous opportunity! I had a great mentor who taught me everything she knew.

The ophthalmic field requires constant learning and the opportunities from JCAHPO continuing education were super. I read everything I could get my hands on and took classes. I also became active with the San Diego Ophthalmic Medical Assistants Association (SDCOMAA) which meets monthly for 1 hour of CEU and networking with my peers. In 1986, I decided to make this my career and applied to take my COT test. After attaining this certification, job opportunities were abundant and I even trained to assist in cataract and other ocular surgeries. In 1991, I was asked to teach for Palomar College Regional Occupation Program (ROP) Optical Class. I taught for one year and spoke to the director about having an ophthalmic assisting program. I explained that I liked teaching optical but would prefer to teach what I loved. He asked me to develop a curriculum and he would advertise it in the college catalog to see if anyone was interested. The first semester I had 40 students! This was an incredible course because ROP is free. The class continued for almost 20 years, with the last class ending in May 2011 due to state budget cuts. I graduated 50 students that last semester.

When I began teaching, I heard about a volunteer opportunity with the Flying Samaritans, to conduct an eye clinic in Tecate, Mexico, every third Saturday of the month. At the clinic, 50-75 patients are seen for conditions of cataracts, pterygium, keratoconus, dry eyes, and of course refractive errors. Volunteers screen the patients, refract them, and neutralize and dispense hundreds of donated eye glasses. The clinic also offers surgery for the cataract and pterygium patients. It is a fabulous opportunity. I have introduced many students to volunteer work through the Flying Samaritans. If you have never done volunteer work, I strongly recommend you try it, as it is addicting! I have been doing this for 20 years now. It is a rewarding experience.

In 1996, I started working for UC San Diego, Shiley Eye Center, as the Chief Ophthalmic Technician. At the time, I supervised five techs and we saw about 80 patients per day. I was blessed to be able to attend the JCAHPO annual meetings and soon volunteered to teach workshops and eventually lectured. My first lecture, "Becoming a Super Tech" was well received and inspired me to prepare more talks. In 2007, I decided to go for my COMT which wasn't easy but well worth it. I tell my students all the time that if what we do was easy, everyone could do it; and if everyone could do it, this would be a minimum wage job! I am now the Chief Clinical Supervisor. Shiley now has 24 techs and sees over 300 patients per day. With the combined learning opportunities from JCAHPO and SDCOMAA, I feel that I can perform my job to the fullest without the added stress that comes when one is not fully prepared to perform their job.

Being an OMP has been a very rewarding career. I love my work and it shows in my career!

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Staff Corner

The staff at JCAHPO and ATPO have worked tirelessly these past 40+ years to bring the highest level of service and support to our members. We would like to give you the opportunity to get to know the people who handle certification, continuing education, administrative support, and organizational management a little bit better through our ongoing 'Staff Corner' newsletter segment. In this issue we introduce you to ATPO's Manager and Assistant.

Mary Evans
Mary Evans is the Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology (ATPO) and the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists (CLAO) manager and has been with JCAHPO for 7 years. Mary has great respect for those who continuously volunteer for JCAHPO and ATPO and is amazed at the level of dedication and commitment the members have for their profession.

Three words to describe herself? Dedicated, compassionate and fun-loving. Anyone who knows me - knows that I am always joking and smiling. I am a strong believer in having fun while you work!

Her motto to live by? LIVE...LAUGH...and LOVE and cherish your friends and family as if your life depended on it. Because it does!

When not at work, Mary loves to bake and cook and is addicted to the Food Network channel. She also loves to travel, especially winter trips to Mexico!

Deb Keith
Deb Keith has been an administrative assistant for ATPO and the JCAHPO education department for the past five years. Some of her responsibilities include assisting with ATPO memberships, the Annual Scientific Session and Grand Rounds, and continuing education applications. Deb loves getting to know and working with so many great people in the ophthalmic field around the country.

Three words to describe herself? Motivated, caring, and loyal.

Her motto to live by? “Dream big, but always have a plan B.”

When not at work, Deb enjoys spending time with family and friends.

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JCAHPO Revises Group A/B Credit Categories

JCAHPO is pleased to announce the revision of the Group A/B credit categories. Previously, all approved credits were classified as either Group A or B. Group A credits were based on medical and scientific content that was specific to, but not limited to, the JCAHPO examination content areas. Group B credits were courses related to ophthalmology but not tested in the examination content areas. As of August 1, 2011 all ophthalmology (eye-care) related topics, regardless of the relation to an examination content area, will now be awarded Group A credit for classroom (lecture), workshops and e-learning courses. COURSES/SEMINARS MUST STILL BE SUBMITTED TO, and PRE-APPROVED BY, JCAHPO's EDUCATION DEPARTMENT to qualify for CE Credit!

Examples of topics that are NOT eligible for CE Credit include: Completion of Evaluations; Conflict Resolution; Effective Communications; Listening Skills; Marketing; Merits of Certification; Personality Traits; Principles of Supervision; Product Training; Team Building; Work-Life Balance; and Topics not unique to eye-care

The Group A and B credit recertification requirements will remain the same. CME category 1 courses in ophthalmology approved by the AMA or Canadian Medical Association will remain the same as well, and will continue to be awarded B credit based on certification level.

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Did you know?

left Have you ever heard of "TOMS Shoes?" TOMS gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased. Well, Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, is at it again! Just as his company's shoe sales directly benefit those in need, his eyewear will do the same. Partnering with the Seva Foundation, each sale will directly help the visual health of a person in a developing country.

Made in Italy, the $135 sunglasses come in three basic styles: Classic 101 (similar to Ray-Ban Wayfarers), Classic 201 (large and round), and Classic 301 (similar to aviators). Each come in a variety of colors, however they all have one signature design detail. The temples of each pair of sunglasses feature a hand-painted color and white stripe. Blake says it signifies the bond between the consumer and the person being helped, with the white stripe representing TOMS as bridging the two together.

Want to learn more? Visit www.toms.com/eyewear

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JCAHPO's mission is to enhance the quality and availability of ophthalmic patient care by promoting the value of qualified allied health personnel and by providing certification and education.

 

 

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