Ophthalmologists have professional responsibilities, says AAO president-elect

November 9, 2008

President-elect Michael W. Brennan, MD, stressed commitment in his address during the opening session at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Sunday morning.

President-elect Michael W. Brennan, MD, stressed commitment in his address during the opening session at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Sunday morning.

"Whether you read to a needy child, pound nails [for] Habitat for Humanity, or volunteer to fly abroad, all of us need to reach deep into our reservoir of time and talent," Dr. Brennan said.

The first responsibility of ophthalmologists is "giving without recompense, service before self," he said. "On all fronts, there are rivals. Even within our family of ophthalmology, there are contrasting interests: comprehensive versus subspecialty, academic versus private practice."

By establishing an integrated eye-care team, however, which includes certified technicians and well-educated administrators, you can become allies, not rivals, he added.

The second responsibility is personal political advocacy, according to Dr. Brennan, which is needed to influence health-policy decision-makers.

"Our unrivaled AAO staff is the portal for your national enlistment, and your state societies are the critical link at home," he said.

Leadership is the ultimate professional responsibility, however, according to Dr. Brennan. "For me, the greatest joy of medicine, beyond the privilege of direct patient care, has not been at the laboratory or the library, nor the operating room or the board room, but in leadership development."

He said that he is proud to assume his position as president and that he looks forward to serving AAO members at home and abroad in 2009.