(PRESS RELEASE) ROCKVILLE, MD – The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is excited and delighted to announce that the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) has donated $ 50,000 to ASCO’s public awareness campaign, Optometry Gives Me Life (OGML).
OGML was launched in March 2019 and was developed due to a decline in qualified applicants in the first grades in recent years and the lack of diversity among applicants from the 23 optometry schools and colleges. The goals of the campaign are: to recruit at least two applicants with a GPA> 3.0 from their college (s) for every available apprenticeship in a US optometry program; Increase the number of highly skilled applicants with Hispanic / Latin American and African American / Black backgrounds by 100%; and to maximize the percentage / number of high school students who know optometry as a career option.
After two full cycles of use, the results are promising. ASCO saw a 4.7% increase in the recently completed OptomCAS application cycle. This is on top of the 3.7% increase over the 2019-2020 period. The diversity of applicants also reached new heights. This is the first time 6% of the applicant pool have been African American / Black and 13% Hispanic / Latino. That was 14.3% and 19.4% more than in the previous year.
“The American Academy of Optometry is proud to support ASCO’s ongoing initiative to increase a diverse pool of applicants for those looking to pursue optometry as their career path,” said AAO President Timothy McMahon, OD, FAAO. “Students are the future of every profession, and as an advanced training association for opticians who want to practice at the highest level of care, we are committed to teaching best practices as part of their postgraduate training. The support of their campaign shows our commitment to students on their career path and the increase of diversity within the profession. “
“With your donation, the academy shows the value of our campaign for the optician community and we couldn’t be more grateful,” says ASCO President Dr. Kelly Nichols. “The support of the Academy, along with contributors from industry and organizations, including all schools and colleges of optometry, will enable this campaign to continue and grow and reach potential applicants for years to come. Our diversity efforts are a particularly important part of the campaign and reflect the work of the academy. ASCO is grateful to the academy’s membership and management and for this generous gift. “