The Illinois Optometric Association exists to protect, promote, and advance the profession of Optometry by providing exemplary resources and support towards serving and enhancing quality patient care.
The vision of the Illinois Optometric Association is to be the primary advocate for the advancement of optometry through education, legislation, public service, and membership development by providing a unified voice for all optometrists to ensure the practice of Optometry at the highest level while providing patients with exemplary care.
June has been a very tough month for the optometric family as we grieve the loss of several great leaders in our profession. On a state level we mourn the loss of past-president and long-time Journal editor, Dr. Walter Zinn, and we also grieve the loss of a past chair of our legislative committee and the father of our TPA bill, Dr. Tom Lawless. On a national level we recognize the recent loss of AOA past-president, Dr. Vic Connors who worked tirelessly to promote optometry throughout the world. These three men were strikingly different from one another in personality, but the common threads that they all shared were passion for optometry, the ability to identify and mentor future leaders, and a desire to leave the profession in a better and stronger condition than it was in when they first joined it.
As I contemplate our loss, I find myself grateful for the legacy these optometric giants left behind for us and hopeful for a new generation of leaders who will boldly follow in their footsteps. If you would like to join me in making a memorial contribution to honor the legacy left behind by these fine men and the many other great leaders who have preceded them, you can simply go online to ioaweb.org and click on the button for the Illinois Foundation for Eyecare. Contributions are tax deductible and will help fund scholarships for optometry students who will one day become the next giants of the profession.
It is a very exciting time for Illinois Optometry this summer with our hopes for our Sunset Bill to pass this year with the addition of lumps/bumps management. It would be a great addition to all of the things we can already can do in Illinois! We have completed a successful licensing cycle, and now can gradually begin to look for new continuing education courses that interest us. We have had a new class of students graduate from the Illinois College of Optometry this May, so those Optometrists looking for new employees should be able to find just the right doctor for the job. We can start preparing for the Kindergarteners to start showing up in our offices for their Kindergarten exams, and they always are the most entertaining patients. We have completed a successful Special Olympics International Lions Club Opening Eyes event at the summer games in June and helped 270 underserved athletes to learn the importance of getting regular comprehensive eye exams. Finally, it’s officially summer, and we can actually enjoy being outside with our families when we are finished in our offices at the end of the day. Optometry in Illinois is at a great mid-year peak, and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year will bring for us through the work of the IOA!
Hope everyone is having a good summer. Since the last report, we have transferred all of our investments from Federated Funds into nine different funds within American Funds Family at no cost to the association. All of the funds chosen had either a 4 or 5 star rating from Morningstar, and had lower expense ratios as compared with similar funds within the same category. American Funds have established a great reputation over the years. One of their strong points is that all investment decisions are made by a group of managers, each one having a different area of expertise in the financial world. Many of you may remember the incredible performance of the Fidelity Magellan Fund managed by Peter Lynch. Once he left, the fund is now struggling to survive. Because of this “team approach”, a manager change at American Funds would only have a limited effect on fund performance, as the other managers will continue their usual research and investment strategies. It is this management style that has helped American funds to be a top performer year after year.
I am happy to report that our investments were still up 2% for the year the day after the 600 point drop due to Britain exiting the EU. This was actually a good test of the diversity of our investments. Our portfolio incurred a loss of 33% less than that of the Dow Jones on that day. This should give members confidence that our investments are positioned such that we are somewhat insulated from a full market correction. Will keep you posted on any new developments.
The IOA and the AOA are continuing to fight for our rights by continuing to oppose the online eye exams. We are also serving to protect all the advancements we have achieved so far in optometry. Please continue to help us by attending all the society meetings you are able and to continue to invite those who might be interested in becoming members. By attending your society meetings this year, you will likely be able to meet our new executive director, Debra, as she and Mike are attending as many society meetings as they can. Enjoy your summer!