Advocacy & Legislation

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NCSEPS Leaders & Programs Recognized for Excellence at AAO 2017

NCSEPS leaders attending the AAO 2017 Annual Meeting in New Orleans brought home some new hardware... AWARDS!!

The NCSEPS was recognized with a Secretariat for State Affairs Star Award for its response to an apparent ocular melanoma cluster that has developed in the Lake Norman area. The Star Award program provides special recognition to state ophthalmology societies for outstanding efforts on programs or projects they have implemented in the previous year. Representing the NCSEPS, Dr. Sara Stoneburner, Dr. Kitty Gordon, Dr. Mike Brennan, Dr. Stuart McCracken and Alan Skipper accepted the award at the Academy's 2017 Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Also, during the Academy's orientation session for state society president-elects, NCSEPS President Dr. Sara Stoneburner gave a passionate talk to an audience of state ophthalmology society leaders. She spoke about her experience as NCSEPS President during a particularly challenging year and urged her colleagues to "Get moving. Get moving now!" Dr. Stoneburner also brought home some new hardware. She was presented with the Secretariat Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership as NCSEPS President.

Dr. Kitty Gordon, NCSEPS President-Elect, was recognized for completing the Academy's Leadership Development Program. Since 1998, the Academy's Leadership Development Program has helped identify and develop future leaders of state, subspecialty and specialized interest societies. During the one-year program, class participants learn about leadership, advocacy and association governance.

The AAO Secretariat for State Affairs presented its Outstanding Executive Director Award for Political Action to NCSEPS Executive Director Alan Skipper. Alan was recognized for his efforts to fend off optometry's effort to obtain surgical privileges in North Carolina. Alan was credited with focusing the energy of the NCSEPS at the state capitol to preserve quality eye care in the face of aggressive optometric surgery legislation, working in close coordination with the Secretariat for State Affairs and State Governmental Affairs staff to enhance the NCSEPS' political efforts, and for diligently and persistently marshalling a multi-faceted advocacy team to ensure an effective voice for ophthalmology at the state capitol in Raleigh.

Tom Fetzer, a lobbyist for the NCSEPS and former Mayor of Raleigh, was an invited guest and speaker at the Academy's Council Meeting held in conjunction with AAO 2017. Mr. Fetzer has been working with the NCSEPS this past year and his counsel has been invaluable to our opposition to HB 36, the OD Surgery Bill. In his remarks to the AAO leadership, Mr. Fetzer presented an overview of the legislative experience in North Carolina during 2017 and stressed the importance of engaging in advocacy efforts and developing relationships with elected officials.

Get Involved!

The NCSEPS advocates for quality eye care and for the practice and profession of ophthalmology in North Carolina. There are several ways you can get involved:

EyePAC
There are two sides to the "advocacy coin." There is legislative advocacy, which includes activities such as the Key Contact Network and engaging as an advocate in the legislative process. There is also political advocacy, which is equally important. It is vital to elect candidates who support ophthalmology's positions and who are willing to be legislative leaders on matters impacting ophthalmology and patient care. The mechanism for being a political advocate and positioning ophthalmology to optimize our legislative effectiveness is through contributing to EyePAC. In doing so you are investing in your and your patients' future. Please make your contribution to EyePAC online TODAY or complete this contribution form and return it by mail or fax. For more information, contact the NCSEPS at ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

White Coat Wednesdays
During each session of the NC General Assembly, physicians are encouraged to participate in the series of "White Coat Wednesday" events co-coordinated with the NC Medical Society. These sessions have been designed as advocacy "mini-internships" for physicians so medicine can become more effective in promoting the best interests of the profession and the patients you serve. The day in Raleigh includes an update on the latest legislative issues by NCSEPS and NCMS staff, meetings with your legislators, attendance at legislative committee hearings and experiencing sessions of the House and Senate. For more information contact the NCSEPS at ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

Key Contact Network As has been stated repeatedly, all politics is local. That is a fact and it emphasizes the importance of having an effective network of ophthalmologsits who are willing to make a contact at a crucial point prior to and during legislative debate. Being a Key Contact is a simple commitment and requires very little time. It simply requires that you be willing to convey a message to your elected officials when called upon. To get on board with this grassroots initiative, contact the NCSEPS at ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

Local Meetings with Legislators
Local meetings with legislators offer excellent opportunities to get to know those who represent you in the N.C. Legislature. These meetings are typically held as late-day/early-evening sessions for one hour in an ophthalmology practice. All we need is an indication that you are willing to host an event and we will take care of making the arrangements. To host a meeting with your area legislators, contact the NCSEPS at ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

Be a Member!
At a minimum, every ophthalmologist in North Carolina should be an NCSEPS member. The association is a dues-driven organization representing ophthalmology in North Carolina and the level of participation and support from you and your colleagues in the state dictates the scope of the activities we can pursue and the success we can achieve. Not a member? JOIN TODAY!

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