Dr. A. Philip Aitsebaomo, President, NOA
The memory of my first NOA convention, which coincidentally was at Hilton Head Island, over thirty years ago, is as vivid as that of the last convention. As a student at Indiana University, School of Optometry, it was exhilarating to be out of Bloomington. More importantly, I was thrilled to be among other optometry students as well as future colleagues, who were already practicing Optometrists. As fate would have it, I began my tenure as President of the NOA at Hilton Head Island, where my journey began - and what a journey it has been.
When I take a personal inventory, I see that I have missed only two (2) conventions since my very first one. I have contributed to the progress of the NOA by being a member, a regional trustee, CE director for numerous years, Vice-President, and President-Elect. Service is the root of every organization. My two children joined the ranks of other children of the NOA who knew they would be required to make the annual NOA pilgrimage - I think they actually looked forward to it! My wife, Jennifer is President of the Associates of the NOA. We are definitely a NOA family!
I am humbled by the tenacity and dedication of those who joined NOA before me, such as Dr. Edwin Marshall, Dr. Melvin Shipp, and Dr. Linda Johnson. I can say that the reason we, as well as others, have remained loyal members is because of the way the NOA makes us feel. While the NOA has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, our core programs such as professional advancement, student enrichment, and advocacy for our profession, have remained strong pillars of our association. We are able to achieve these goals by visiting Optometric Institutions, partnering with most of eye care industry, engaging local and national legislators, and most importantly, nurturing current and future students. The personal contribution of every member cannot be overlooked. We are always blessed by the exceptional leadership of our co-founder, Dr. C. Clayton Powell.
I must not fail to mention that after many years in private practice, I was drawn into academia again because I volunteered to be a mentor to a student at an Optometry School. I certainly credit my career move to the NOA. I trust that anyone who allows themselves to partake in the mission of the NOA will come away with a great feeling. I am proud to be President of this great organization.
The late, great Dr. Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, "People may not remember what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." The NOA definitely makes me feel good!
"Committed to insure comprehensive eye and vision health care, decreasing the health disparity in minority communities as it promotes diversity in vision care providers."