Congratulations on your choice of a truly great profession and for your accomplishments in making it this far! Time will pass quickly and before you know it, you'll be taking state boards, receiving your license in the mail, and embarking on an extremely rewarding career.
Serving our patients and providing unsurpassed healthcare to the citizens of Louisiana is a tremendous privilege we have. It was not long ago that optometry in Louisiana consisted of only refractive services. We now enjoy a scope of practice in which we prescribe all oral and topical medications for treatment of the eye and its adnexa, order all pertinent bloodwork and neuro-imaging procedures for our patients, perform minor surgical procedures on the eye and the adnexa, and maintain our own DEA numbers to prescribe Schedule III & IV controlled substances. We also now actively serve on numerous state healthcare committees, have our first colleague in the Louisiana Senate in Dr. David Heitmeier, receive reimbursement for our full scope of services from major medical insurers including Medicare and Medicaid, and have case law on the books that prevents discrimination against our profession. My how far we've come!
None of those accomplishments could've been achieved without organized optometry and the sacrifices of so many who've gone before us. The Optometry Association of Louisiana is stronger than it's ever been and stands ready to assist you in any way, both during and after your graduation. We maintain a standing committee dedicated to communicating with and mentoring students in optometry school; provide a job placement service through the OAL office; offer complementary student registration to all OAL events, including state & local optometric society meetings; offer students guidance for state board exams; and provide a mentoring program which pairs new graduates with an experienced O.D. in the same geographic area and desired mode of practice. We also oversee the Dr. Mark Franks Trust Fund at SCO, which provides low interest student loans, and have worked diligently to restore and maintain state funding for the SREB contract seats which allow Louisiana students the benefit of in-state tuition at four schools and colleges of optometry.
But the OAL will never be all that it can be without YOU! Your active involvement over the course of your career will determine where we go from here - forward or backward. Work tirelessly to increase your clinical expertise, your business acumen, and your personal leadership skills, and always stay engaged in your profession. You, your patients, and your profession will benefit tremendously if you do!!! (And don't forget to let us know of any change in address or email!)
Khanh Nghi Trinh, O.D.
OAL Student Mentoring Chair
Cell 504) 289-4938