Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2004
IU optometry students lead national organizations
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Two Indiana University Bloomington optometry students set their sights from coast to coast as presidents of their national student organizations.
Amy Rudser, a senior from Northfield, Minn., is the 2004-05 president of the American Optometric Student Association. Recent IU graduate Dionne Moore, of Gary, Ind., was the 2003-04 president of the National Optometric Student Association.
The purpose of AOSA is to improve the visual welfare and health of the public and to promote the profession of optometry. Rudser said it has been 20 years since an IU student served as AOSA president.
The parent organization of NOSA is the National Optometric Association, which for 34 years has been a nationwide leader in the cause of improving the quality and accessibility of eye care in minority and other underserved communities.
"Amy Rudser and Dionne Moore have been strong leaders in the student organizations within the School of Optometry and have taken this leadership to the national level. They have presided over their respective organizations in a very effective and efficient manner," said School of Optometry Dean Gerald Lowther.
"I think whichever school the president is from tends to get a little more attention during that year," Rudser said. "After I'm introduced at state and national association meetings, it gets people talking about IU and the optometry program and how it has changed and improved since they were in optometry school."
She thinks the best part of being AOSA president is seeing programs go into action that will improve optometry students' education and at the same time have a positive influence on the future of the profession.
"There are several different issues and projects going on all the time, and it's exciting to contribute to the success of them," Rudser said.
An example of a national project currently in the works is the InfantSee Program.
"InfantSee's goal is to do more to eliminate amblyopia, a condition of reduced vision caused when an eye has not received adequate use during early childhood. The condition is reversible when caught in the early stages," Rudser said. "The idea is to get more young kids to see optometrists and then identify if amblyopia is an issue, and if so, get a treatment plan started to hopefully reverse it."
IU's NOSA chapter provides educational, social and community-related activities for all IU students. Moore believes that her being elected president put the IU chapter on the map again within the School of Optometry by raising the morale of the members of the organization. She said the best part of her presidency of NOSA was connecting minority optometry students all over the country and providing them with support.
"For example, I was able to connect one student with a doctor for a mission trip to Haiti. These are the events that make serving as president worthwhile," Moore said.
Increasing the number of minority eye-care practitioners, through student recruitment and career placement, has been NOA's historical focus. With hundreds of committed members, NOA is represented in a variety of clinical settings, educational institutions and other centers of influence in the profession of optometry.
NOSA is open to all optometry students willing to pay dues. "NOSA membership is very diverse and welcomes persons of all backgrounds, including but not limited to African Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, Asians, East Indians and Middle Easterners," Moore said.
She will now complete a residency at the Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cleveland.