Your degree is under attack

June 20, 2012

Message from AOA President Dori Carlson, O.D.

Regulators and other outside groups are now attacking the Accreditation Council for Optometric Education (ACOE), optometry’s only recognized accrediting body for professional degree programs and residency programs. Claiming that the ACOE is not autonomous is an attack on the credibility of the entire profession and your professional degree. This attack may lead legislators and health care policymakers to question the legitimacy of your degree, your license, and your ability to act as an independent health care professional. These attacks falsely assert that the ACOE is not autonomous in the development of accreditation standards and in making accreditation decisions.

State optometry boards regulate professional licensure; that is a fact of life. However, we don’t have to accept that an association of state licensing boards is the only stakeholder granted exclusive and powerful authority to review and approve continuing professional education. There may be a better way, the way all other independent health care professions review and accredit CE. Optometry is right to examine alternative best-in-class models with more inclusive governance of all key CE stakeholders.

A profession takes pride in its ability and willingness to regulate itself, and continuing professional education is no exception to that obligation. Learn the facts on this issue at http://www.aoa.org/x22163.xml. False and misleading claims about the independence of the ACOE undermines the entire profession and threatens your professional degree.


  1. After 30 years of being an optometrist I can only wonder why the AOA has continued its path of misinformation and disregard for the profession.

  2. Troublesome verbiage here, Dr. Carlson, and I strongly disagree. As a CE provider, I feel that ARBO/COPE has done an outstanding job and has improved with time. (Believe me, I was a skeptic at first!) After the absurd headline, you indicate a “best in class” approach that is one of my key concerns. You will inherently assert that AOA’s approach is “better” at some point, thus contributing to an already fragmented situation. “More inclusive governance?” Come on. The underwhelming response to board certification, on which I am neutral, is evidence that we rank-and-filers don’t need another concept crammed at us. There is no benefit to another bureaucracy’s input. I remain concerned that we will regulate ourselves into oblivion. My national association should stay with its’ primary skill sets of political action and insurance watchfulness, and not seek to create parallel universes. Please enlighten if I have misinterpreted. William B. Potter, OD

  3. This has been such a devisive issue, yet there are only a couple of responses in two weeks. The AOA needs to strive for relevance, and to listen to its constituent members. It saddens me to know that I am typing out into nowhere. Would it get AOA’s attention to know that my membership is at risk?

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