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Release: Dec. 10, 2001

Weingeist, UI Department of Ophthalmology staff to lead professional organizations

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Several members of the University of Iowa department of ophthalmology and visual sciences recently won election to the presidency of their professional organizations.

Jean Hill, nurse manager in the UI Ophthalmology Clinic, will serve as president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses (ASORN). Hill's two-year term began Nov. 12 following a year of service as president-elect. Hill says her goals include publishing evidence-based practice guidelines for LASIK procedures, updating ophthalmic nursing care standards and revising the ASORN curriculum standards and procedures manual. ASORN fosters excellence in ophthalmic patient care and supports the ophthalmic team through individual development, education and evidence-based practice. After her term as president ends, Hill will serve an additional year as a member of the ASORN board of directors.

Pam Kutschke is the new president-elect of the American Association of Certified Orthoptists (AACO). Kutschke will serve for one year as president-elect followed by a three-year term as president. Orthoptists diagnose vision disorders, interpret clinical findings and provide therapy to patients. Orthoptists treat patients of all ages, but the majority of their patients are children. The mission of the AACO is to promote and advance the professional skills and education of orthoptists.

Thomas Weingeist, M.D., Ph.D., professor and head of the UI department of ophthalmology and visual sciences, will begin his term as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) on Jan. 1, 2002. AAO is the largest national membership association of eye physicians and surgeons with more than 27,000 members. Weingeist served as president-elect in 2001.

In his address to the academy at its recent annual meeting, Weingeist said that he plans to develop lines of communication that will provide all members access to him and all AAO staff via a presidential Web site. Weingeist went on to say that he will enhance the academy's educational efforts and use the Internet to provide information upon demand to eye specialists.

"The AAO is a world-class organization because it provides world-class people with opportunities to grow, work and serve our profession at the highest level," Weingeist said.

Weingeist also will lead the AAO board in determining the future direction of the academy, as well as develop policies that support its mission to advance the lifelong learning and professional interests of ophthalmologists in order to assure that the best possible eye care is provided to the public.

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