… for full-time engagement in his/her profession. After all, you don’t just call yourself an optometrist while you’re in the midst of examining a patient.
I want to offer you a warm, personal invitation to come to our Spring Congress. It will be held in my figurative backyard, Lancaster County, this weekend. The last time we held our annual Congress in Lancaster County was in 1999. That was the same year that our very own Harvey Hanlen was serving as our AOA President. Dr. Hanlen was the 6th Pennsylvania optometrist to serve as an AOA President since its beginning in 1898.
This year you can come help launch another Pennsylvanian onto the AOA Board – Dr. Greg Caldwell. You’ve known him as an excellent lecturer; you’ve known him as a friend; and you’ve known him for his advocacy ... “for the love of optometry”! Come and support him as our next AOA trustee!
We will be holding our Congress right on the historic center square of Lancaster in the beautiful new Marriott Convention Center. A $177 million construction that sprouts from within the restored façade of the Watt & Shand Building; a blending of the Beaux Arts façade from 1898 and its later additions (1916 – 1925) with a luxury convention center of 220,000 sq. ft. and 299 rooms.
For those who recently enjoyed the movie Lincoln and the raucous behavior of Thaddeus Stevens, you’ll enjoy learning that the convention center’s construction also incorporated his house and law office into its structure. You can even look down into an archeological dig of his cistern believed to be a link with the underground railroad. Additional historical exposure can easily be obtained from a short drive over to Wheatland, the home of Pennsylvania’s only president – James Buchanan.
Actually, Lancaster and its surrounding area breathes history for it was once the gateway to the west. Frontiersmen would stock their wagons with staples before heading in wagon trains on to their western adventure. The Conestoga wagon took its name from the local Conestoga River. The term “stogie” (a cheap cigar) derived its name from the wagon drivers who smoked the low quality tobacco originally grown in this area. It was said that those following these wagons would comment that you could tell it was a “stogie” up ahead from the tobacco’s stench. The “Kentucky rifle” is actually misnamed since its origin was in Lancaster; the Pennsylvania Long Rifle was crafted by Germanic emigrants who moved into this area.
Center city offers an historic central market, a wide array of fine restaurants, art galleries and shops. Yes, my friends, you can even save your shoes and take Segway tours of downtown and its historic buildings.
Highlights of our meeting will include:
- 11 hours of excellent continuing education, including: diagnosis/management of ocular pathology, OCT grand rounds, anterior segment grand rounds, HGPs – toric and specialty grand rounds and fitting scleral CLs. Also, Dan Tyree (northeast regional manager, VSP) will present a practice report. Please see the registration brochure on the POA website for details.
- An excellent paraoptometric continuing education program, complementing the ODs’ program – so bring along your staff. Three nationally-known speakers will cover a wide variety of topics including time management, pre-testing, interacting with challenging patients, lens material/collaborative dispensing, anatomy, ocular effects of systemic disease … and even an eye dissection workshop – a loaded program that can enrich your office and staff.
- The POA’s House of Delegates, where our professional business is conducted. If you’ve never attended, now is the time to start. As I stated in the last Keystoner – time to be a player. Unlike our federal deadlock, we are all on the same team – not red, blue, etc. We are all optometrists. Sometimes, we have differing perspectives, but this is our arena to hash things out and move forward. Attend, listen and offer input … be a player.
- The Andy Mowatt Trio (POA Lobbyist Ted Mowatt’s son) will provide a talented musical ambiance for our exhibit hall/dinner. This is the last time Dr. Hanlen will be the coordinator of our exhibit hall, so come out and support our sponsors, vendors and Harvey.
- Our annual golf tournament, held at the Conestoga Country Club on Friday at 7am. This scenic 6,400 yard, par 70 will provide both fun and challenge depending upon your intensity. Awards will be bestowed to both camps.
- The Amish Storyteller will attend to educate and entertain our members about the Amish culture. No Amish Mafia here.
- The Pennsylvania Paraoptometric Association’s 35th Anniversary, “Stamp to Success,” affording an opportunity to reward the paras’ involvement in our conference and win great prizes. Check this out! On Saturday night, my wife, Vicki, and I will help host the PPA’s celebratory reception with live music from Bryan Stevenson jamming with Shift Seven. This should be a lot of fun offering cover songs, original music, requests and even audience participation – rumor has it that our POA Trustee Mark Margolies is going to do an encore performance of his rockin’ Mustang Sally. Let your hair down, if you got it.
Kum … have a good time and get smarter.
Robert L. Owens, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Pennsylvania Optometric Association