Future for AAO will be united front based on core values

November 9, 2008

Throughout his address at the opening session of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting Sunday morning, President David W. Parke II, MD, quoted Martin Luther King Jr. because of the relevancy his words still have on the challenges faced today, nearly half a century later, in the ophthalmic profession and as a nation in transition. Having read several speeches "by one of Atlanta's most illustrious citizens," Dr. Parke said that he found one of Dr. King's statements particularly compelling: "Where do we go from here?"

Throughout his address at the opening session of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting Sunday morning, President David W. Parke II, MD, quoted Martin Luther King Jr. because of the relevancy his words still have on the challenges faced today, nearly half a century later, in the ophthalmic profession and as a nation in transition. Having read several speeches "by one of Atlanta's most illustrious citizens," Dr. Parke said that he found one of Dr. King's statements particularly compelling: "Where do we go from here?"

"First, we must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up . . . and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values," he said, quoting Dr. King.

Dr. Parke said that ophthalmologists need to assert their dignity and worth, recognizing that they have "a unique and critical duty to preserve sight where in peril and to restore sight where impaired."

He also addressed unassailable and majestic core values ophthalmologists should follow: a commitment to patient safety and quality care first; a personal responsibility for patients' welfare; a pledge to respect the dignity of the individual; and to be effective stewards of the profession in the service of the public good.

"That's not a bad start," he said, adding, "For values to be unassailable, they must be values that we consistently define by action at every opportunity. Only then will these values survive the crucible of public scrutiny and will we establish the foundation to lead our profession into the future."

Dr. Parke also said that these values must be supported by a coordinated advocacy strategy. Although ophthalmologists face an evolving professional future, the values "are our roots as a profession and they will serve us well in the courts of public opinion and policy development," he said.

"When people get caught up with that which is right, and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory," Dr. Parke concluded, quoting Dr. King.

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