Optometry’s Meeting® 2020 Canceled Due to COVID-19

By Practice Growth April 09, 2020

The annual meeting of both the AOA and American Optometric Student Association (AOSA), was originally scheduled for June 24-28 in National Harbor, Maryland/Washington, D.C., but global spread of the new coronavirus has forced the first-ever cancellation of the profession’s premier meeting.

Out of an abundance of caution amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the American Optometric Association (AOA) canceled the in-person portion of Optometry’s Meeting® 2020.  They plan to organize key elements of the meeting virtually.   AOA and AOSA remain committed to offering ways for members to continue their professional development.

“This is the first time that Optometry’s Meeting has been canceled and while this is the right decision to make for everyone’s health, it is heartbreaking,” Dr. Horn, AOA President, says. “We want to thank everyone for their continued patience, support and partnership during these difficult, unprecedented times as we move through this united together.”

We’ll keep you posted with emerging information, but we know as of now that they are focusing on the following elements:

·         Education. Optometry’s Meeting 2020 was prepared to deliver over 140 continuing education and 60 paraoptometric courses—education that doctors and staff are still seeking. The AOA will proceed in offering education for doctors and paraoptometrics using a virtual platform.

·         House of Delegates. The preeminent assembly of our profession’s leaders and decisionmakers, the AOA House of Delegates will be called for a one-time, special meeting for the purposes of AOA Board of Trustees elections and installation to reflect the usual and customary practices for an AOA election. This special meeting of the House will be held in June 2020, while most typical agenda items included within the House will be postponed to a later meeting with dates to be determined.

·         AOA+. This year-long, annual initiative is an incredible opportunity to deeply engage the profession’s next generation, and while Optometry’s Meeting planned to welcome over 2,020 students and new doctors, the AOA looks forward to continuing the AOA+ efforts later in 2020 and beyond.

·         AOA on Capitol Hill. Although the AOA’s single-largest, annual federal advocacy meeting, AOA on Capitol Hill, is also canceled as part of Optometry’s Meeting 2020, the crisis advocacy mobilization will continue. The AOA just issued an immediate call to action in support of AOA-backed, bipartisan legislation (S. 3559, Sens. Barrasso-Bennet/H.R. 6365, Reps. Schrier-Roe) to provide new federal grant and loan support for doctors of optometry and optometry practices. Visit AOA’s Legislative Action Center or text AOA to 855.465.5124 for how you can help build AOA’s advocacy momentum as Congress mulls its next crisis relief bill.

·         Meeting, event registrations. Additionally, all Optometry’s Meeting and Optometry Cares 5K Run/Walk registrations will be canceled on attendees’ behalf and, if applicable, will be refunded the fees in the same method they were made. For example, if an attendee paid via credit card, their credit card will be refunded and a confirmation email sent.

·         Hotel reservations. All hotel reservations booked within the Optometry’s Meeting block will be canceled on attendees’ behalf. As the credit card was only used to hold a reservation and not charged, a refund is not necessary. Attendees who booked a room within the block will receive an email confirmation once the cancellation is processed. Attendees who booked outside the Optometry’s Meeting block will need to cancel their own reservation. 

The AOA recognizes this decision creates many questions for attendees and partners, but more information will become available at optometrysmeeting.org and on practicegrowth.com.

Any questions can be directed to askAOA@aoa.org.

For more information about AOA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic visit http://www.aoa.org/news/inside-optometry/aoa-covid-19-crisis-relief-recovery-assistance 
and for the steps AOA is taking to support members during this crisis, visit AOA’s COVID-19 crisis response and resource page https://www.aoa.org/coronavirus.


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