President's Message

Message from the President of the Optometry Alumni Society
Optometry Alumni President Chris Smiley
Optometry Alumni President Dr. Chris Smiley

“The noblest motive is the public good”
– from the San Diego city seal

In 2022, it was incredible catching up with many friends and colleagues at Vision Expo West, the Ohio Optometric Association’s EastWest Eye Conference, and the American Academy of Optometry’s annual meeting. The peer-to-peer interaction at these well-attended events made me almost forget the challenges of recent years. As amazing as these meetings were, I felt a little more burnout among some of my colleagues than I recall from past meetings.

I know, I know this is an Alumni Magazine, and most of you are probably wondering why I would even go there? The Optometric Oath states, “I AFFIRM that the health of my patient will be my first consideration.” In order for us to fulfill this duty, we must engage in self-care by focusing on our own wellness. Much of this subject matter is new and outside my expertise; however I will share some recent learnings.

On May 23, 2022, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory on healthcare burnout. Burnout is caused by excessive workloads, administrative burdens, time scarcity, poor work-life balance, and other factors. The concern is this leads to poor outcomes in patient care, declines in our own health/wellness, as well as “quiet quitting,” which exacerbates the healthcare shortages we are already experiencing. I encourage all alumni to increase our education on these issues and become advocates for change within our organizations.

The Ohio State University published an e-book titled “9 Dimensions of Wellness,” and provides it to all students and faculty. The nine dimensions include physical wellness, emotional wellness, financial wellness, spiritual wellness, social wellness, career wellness, intellectual wellness, creative wellness, and environmental wellness. The book is an incredible resource to get you started in understanding all the elements that help make you the best “you.” A link is provided below, and I recommend all fellow alumni take a look. Try to find one (or more) area(s) that would benefit you the most and engage additional resources to take a deeper dive in each area. Better yet, make this your New Year’s resolution. 

Optometry is not immune to these issues; however, of all the healthcare professions, ours is the best equipped to lead and overcome these modern day challenges. This is why I continue to love optometry and advocate for our profession! The future of optometry is bright. It continues to get better when we take care of one another, and ourselves, and tackle these challenges together!

Chris Smiley (OD’01)
The Ohio State University College of Optometry Alumni Society