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Carlson to assume office of immediate past president

April 29, 2012

Dr. Carlson

Dori M. Carlson, O.D., of Park River, N.D., will assume the AOA office of immediate past-president. Dr. Carlson was the first woman to serve as AOA president and was first elected to the board in June 2004.

During her tenure on the AOA Board, Dr. Carlson served as liaison to many different committees and project teams. Most notably she was instrumental in developing the School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision, which evolved in to a Joint Statement signed by 30 different organizations calling for a comprehensive eye exam to be the foundation of children’s vision care. This statement was used in the AOA’s lobbying efforts to define the Essential Pediatric Vision Benefit in Health Care Reform as an eye exam instead of a simple screening.

She also was the first board member to travel to all 20 schools and colleges of optometry during her terms as president-elect and president. Her tour, known as Dori’s 20/20 Tour, helped raise awareness of the importance for students to transition their membership from student status to active status upon graduation. Her mission was to motivate students to leave optometry better than the way they found it.

Prior to her election to the board, Dr. Carlson was the first female president of the North Dakota Optometric Association (NDOA). She has remained active in her state association whenever asked to help.

Her North Dakota colleagues awarded her the Young Optometrist of the Year Award in 1994 and the Optometrist of the Year Award in 2003.

A 1989 graduate of Pacific University College of Optometry and a former resident at the American Lake and Seattle Veterans Administration hospitals, Dr. Carlson and her husband Mark Helgeson, O.D., own practices in Park River and Grafton, N.D., where she has continued to see patients when not representing the AOA. The doctors have two sons, Seth and Ian.

When she’s not traveling for AOA or seeing patients, Dr. Carlson enjoys cooking dinner for family and friends, skiing – either on snow or water – and spending summer weekends at the family’s lake cabin in Minnesota.

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