Sunday, June 20, 2021
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James R. Auvil, OD, MBA, FAAO, CPC   

           The theme of the first FOS meeting, planned for 23 OCT 2012 in Phoenix, AZ, is ‘Drive Your Career’. It is difficult to drive a career if you don’t know the options available to you in federal service, so the presentation topics of our first meeting are designed to expand members’ knowledge of the possible.

            The first presentation will provide information on the US Public Health Service (USPHS) and the Indian Health Service (IHS). These two federal service options are not well understood by most federal ODs, but they represent very good options for federal ODs, with USPHS Commissioned Corps promotion rates that often exceed those of the military services. It’s also possible to serve as a General Schedule (GS) employee or as a contract optometrist with the USPHS or IHS. As a GS employee with prior federal service, you can “purchase” your prior service and apply it toward retirement as a GS employee with the USPHS/IHS generally the same way as you could with any other GS position (with the VA or one of the military services, for example).   Attend this presentation and learn more about your options as a federal OD from people who’ve ‘been there’ and ‘done that’.

            The second presentation, ‘What I’ve Learned’ borrows from Esquire magazine’s regular feature concept.   As it applies to FOS members, this topic consists of a rapid-fire set of career lessons learned, with gloves removed and no-holds-barred, in a non-attribution environment. The presentation will not be published or shared in order to preserve value and quality. The topics and lessons learned will be useful for federal service ODs at nearly every career level. Depending on feedback, this may become a regular, by-invitation style feature presentation in which the membership nominates speakers for each meeting.

            As the keynote speaker, Dr. Emery Fehl will close the presentation portion of the first meeting by covering out-of-the-box opportunities for federal service ODs. Dr. Fehl’s atypical career path led him to assume command of a military treatment facility, which is unusual in federal optometry service. He will share his experience and offer suggestions and lessons learned to provide yet another example of how you may drive your career.

            The sprit of the first FOS meeting is one of shared experience. We must not hoard knowledge. We must share what we know with those who seek to know. The FOS is the perfect venue for federal service optometrists to do just that.

            Although this meeting will not offer any COPE-approved continuing education, the FOS will offer COPE-approve CE at future meetings. The FOS Directors decided to focus on career development during meetings so close in time to American Academy of Optometry meetings because the AAO offers a large variety of high-quality CE. I look forward to seeing all of you in Phoenix and am confident this meeting will be of great value to the members who attend.

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