No. 7: AOA became an agency member of the APHA in 1963, later forming the Vision Care Section

March 19, 2013

Editor’s Note: To commemorate 50 years of groundbreaking news in optometry, we are publishing the Top 10 AOA News stories as selected by our readers from all five decades. Please share your commentary and personal stories on the site as well (http://connect.aoa.org). The AOA News ran the following article in January 1963, the same year the AOA become an agency member of the American Public Health Association. This opened the door for the later formation of the Vision Care Section in 1979. Mel Shipp, O.D., Dr.PH, MPH, was elected APHA president in 2011.

The American Public Health Association’s 90th annual meeting in Miami Beach was attended by 6,000 registrants including a delegation of 21 representing AOA.

As in the several previous meetings, the AOA presented an exhibit in the Scientific Section. The theme dwelt upon modern tests for pre-school and early-school children, and emphasized the 10 points essential to educational achievement. Educa-tional literature was distributed.

Doctors Richard L. Haney and Felix A. Koetting officially headed the exhibit section, with Dr. Ben Rosenkranz and 14 Dade County Society optometrists manning the booth.

Optometric leaders attending the sessions included AOA President-Elect W. Judd Chapman, O.D.; William Greenspon, O.D., director of the Department of National Affairs; Paul Lewis, O.D., of the Committee on Visual Problems of Children and Youth; and Mr. David Sharman, manager of the AOA Washington office.
Optometry’s interest in the meeting was provoked by sparkling educational sessions, the importance of projected resolutions and an opportunity to meet representatives of the diversified disciplines composing the APHA.

Of particular interest to Optometry was a resolution involving the upgrading of non-medical personnel. The resolution, which included “refractionists” in the category, was finally defeated.

An AOA hospitality room was offered to provide a central meeting place for visitors and guests. Miss Helen Gillespie, executive secretary of the Florida Optometric Association, was hostess.

Optometrists are expressing an increased interest in public health activities, AOA officials noted. Optometric memberships in the APHA have doubled in the past few months.

An APHA spokesman also remarked on the surge of memberships, commenting he felt optometrists can contribute much to the organization and that optometry can benefit from contact with the other professions in APHA.

The 6,000 attendants at the annual APHA conference came from every state and a number of foreign countries.

A total of 400 speakers and several hundred scientific and technical exhibits were offered.

The 1963 meeting will be in Kansas City.

Editor’s Note: The following ran on the front page of the December 1979 AOA News.

News Focus

The American Public Health Association (APHA) has voted to establish a vision care section. A substitute for the AOA’s original recommendation to create an optometry section, the APHA action means the Medical Care Section’s Vision Care Committee, which represents 20 percent of the section’s enrollment, now has achieved its own sectional status within 2 years after being established.

More than 600 doctors of optometry currently are APHA members, and these ODs, as well as others interested in vision care, will be invited to transfer to the new section.

Burton H. Skuza, O.D., of Minneapolis, a past president of the Minnesota Optometric Association, is the current chairman of the APHA Vision Care Committee.

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