Hello Fellow COTP Members,
I want to thank you for allowing me to serve as president of COTP this past year. I am happy to have had opportunities to work with you and get to know you a little better. I am grateful for our spirit of unity, and am inspired by the wisdom, talents, breadth of knowledge, willingness to share knowledge, and the dedication to your programs and students, that I observed from all of you. We really are strong assets and allies for each other and I hope we will continue to maximize our strengths to help promote and improve our formal training programs as well as elevate the AOP profession.
Our programs are important. We are preparing our students, through structured training, to be confident, competent, committed AOP, who will fill the seemingly endless vacant positions our ophthalmologists are seeking to fill. Our graduates begin their new positions with the knowledge and skill sets to make them contributing members of the ophthalmology team from day #1. Their advanced understanding of ocular disease and diagnostic testing enables them to anticipate the needs of their physicians and to work efficiently. It has also been my experience, that their commitment to their career, demonstrated by their investment in education and successful completion of a program, makes them reliable long-term employees. These are all characteristics that serve to elevate our profession. It is satisfying to know that our efforts contribute to the successes of the graduates and the advancement of the career of AOP. By filling vacant positions with our graduates, we are improving the quality of patient care and easing the burden of AOP working understaffed. One would think our programs would be filled to capacity; they should be, and could be, if we work together towards that goal.
Carla Blackburn will be taking my place soon. She is a committed professional and a lovely person, so I know she will do a wonderful job in promoting our programs and supporting our causes. I also know our small but mighty group will provide her with a wealth of resources to draw upon. When she calls us, we will be ready to help her.
I want to say a big thank you to Caitlin for her help and patience this year. She was always prepared to provide me with information I needed and is working very hard to make our meeting in October a success.
Finally, I learned a lot during my time as president. I encourage everyone to serve in a leadership role at some time in the future. If you are interested in doing so, please contact Carla or me.
All my best,
Deborah K. Smith, BS, COMT, OSC