Candidate Profile and Statements 2021

Sep 14, 2021 | Uncategorized

Candidate(s) for NAVAO President: 

Molly B McGinty-Tauren, O.D., FAAO (Battle Creek VAMC, MI)

Current NAVAO office:
NAVAO Vice President 2019 to present

Past NAVAO experience:
NAVAO Treasurer 2017 to 2019
NAVAO Events Committee, Chair, 2015-2017

Practice location information:
Battle Creek VAMC, joined medical staff in 2004
Residency Program Coordinator 2014 to present 

Professional involvement:
ABCMO, Executive Board member 2010 to present
AAO Admittance Committee Regional Vice Chair 2014 to present 

University of Michigan, B.S.
New England College of Optometry, O.D.
Ocular Disease Residency, Battle Creek VA

Personal statement:
I have tremendous admiration for leaders within VA Optometry who now span generations.  I am thankful for these leaders whose vision expanded the scope of optometry practice with which I serve Veterans daily and who laid the foundations for post-graduate residency training programs by which I am able to teach a new generation of VA optometrists.  I still regularly benefit from their counsel.  Continuing to serve NAVAO, now in the role of President, will provide an opportunity to pay it forward.

Candidate(s) for NAVAO Vice-President: 

Jarett A. Mazzarella, O.D., FAAO (Salisbury VA Healthcare System – Kernersville Health Care Center, NC)

NAVAO Office/Activities:

  • NAVAO member 2012-present
  • Membership Committee 2015-present
  • NAVAO CE Instructor: 2 Hrs. COPE Approved. “OCT Bootcamp Clinical Pitfalls and Pearls”


  • Kernersville Health Care Center. Salisbury VA Health Care System. Kernersville, NC

Key Experience:

  • American Academy of Optometry (AAO)
    • Admittance Committee: 2020-present
    • President of the North Carolina Chapter of the AAO: 2014-2016
    • Vice President of the North Carolina Chapter of the AAO: 2013-2014
  • National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO)
    • Clinical Board Examiner Station 2: 2011-2017
    • Standard Setting Judge: 2013 and 2015
  • Optometry and Vision Science (OVS) Journal Peer Reviewer: 2019-present
  • Review of Optometry; Author and Peer Reviewer: 2012-present
  • North Carolina Optometry Society Young OD Organization Chair: 2014-2017
  • Member of the FAC Staff Recruitment and Retention Committee:
    • Personal Orientation and Development Subcommittee: 2013-2017


  • Undergraduate: Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA 2001; BS.
  • Graduate: The Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, PA 2005; OD
  • Postgraduate: Ocular Disease Residency: Salisbury VAMC, Salisbury, NC 2005-2006

Personal Statement: 

I accept the nomination to be considered for Vice President of the NAVAO. We all have the ability to participate in shaping the future of optometry for years to come within VA. NAVAO brings a sense of unity to VA optometry and cultivates teamwork and collaboration among us. It would be a privilege to build upon the platform of the previous leaders of NAVAO with devoted attention to continued expansion and promotion of our profession within VA. I believe I have the background, the work ethic, and the commitment to be an effective leader in this organization. I would continue to help support VA optometry locally, regionally, and nationally while advocating for the best possible eyecare within VA for the Veterans we serve.

Candidate(s) for NAVAO Treasurer:

Andrew J. Crist, O.D., FAAO (Central Ohio VA Healthcare System – Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Outpatient Clinic, OH)

Hello fellow NAVAO members! I am Andrew Crist and I would be thrilled to serve as your next NAVAO Treasurer!

Briefly about myself – I graduated from Ohio State University in 2014, completed an ocular disease residency at Chillicothe VA and Central Ohio VA in 2015 and have been at Central Ohio VA from 2015 to the present. I have served as an Optometry Subject Matter Expert for a national equipment/supply project where I have had the opportunity to work with our former Director and others at a national level. Since 2016, I have been the Student Externship Program Director at Central Ohio VA where I have overseen nearly 50 4th year optometry students. Lastly, just earlier in 2021, I authored a case report that was published in Optometry and Vision Science and presented a CE lecture at The Ohio State University.

Every day, I feel fortunate to have a career as a VA optometrist and am proud to provide care to our Veterans. I would like to continue to represent the optometry profession and VA in a positive manner and serve in other ways – I believe a great way of doing that is to be your next NAVAO Treasurer. If provided that opportunity, you can be confident I will fulfill the duties of the Treasurer position with the utmost attention to detail and support the other members of the Board.  In nominating me for the Treasurer position, two well-respected colleagues with 40+ years of VA experience between them also shared these additional thoughts: “Dr. Crist is trustworthy, detail oriented, and thorough in all he undertakes,” and “his personal qualities and communication skills are excellent.”

Finally, as VA transfers from CPRS to Cerner EHR system in the coming years, (and Central Ohio VA is currently set to be the 2nd site nationwide to make the switch – possibly early 2022),  I feel it would be beneficial to have someone on the NAVAO Board from one of the early clinic sites that switches who is actively using the Cerner EHR system and therefore, can speak to any issues or concerns and advocate at a national level on behalf of those that are using the new EHR system and those that will next.

Thanks to all that nominated me for this position and thank you for considering me as your next NAVAO Treasurer. It would be an honor to serve and represent you all!

Amy T. Knapke, O.D., FAAO (Dayton VAMC, OH)

I would be honored to serve as the Treasurer of the National Association of VA Optometrists.  I have been a member of NAVAO since accepting a full-time staff position at the Dayton VA in 2015, and I have been serving as a member of the NAVAO Events Committee since 2018.  Prior to becoming a full-time staff member, I worked as a fee-basis provider for the Dayton VA and an independent contractor in a corporate setting for four years.

As an independent contractor, I gained a lot of experience in managing business finances and maintaining PCI compliance for credit card transactions.  In addition to possessing these skills, I really enjoy working with others to advance our profession.  Thank you for considering me for this position.

Candidate(s) for NAVAO Secretary:

Sarah L. Dieter, O.D.  (Columbus VA, OH)

I’m interested in running for Secretary of NAVAO as I’m passionate about VA Optometry, love working with our Veterans, and want to continue NAVAO’s success at helping YOU!   A member of NAVAO since I completed my Residency at the Columbus VA (Columbus, OH) in 2010, I’ve enjoyed working on the Events Committee since 2017.  I have shown my organizational skills and accountability as a graduate of VISN 10 Leadership Development Institute in 2012,  consultant of the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) since 2017, and a Zone Governor of the Ohio Optometric Association in 2012.  And as I like to say, “I survived Cerner training, I can take on anything!”   I would appreciate your vote.  Thank you!

Carla Gilbertson, O.D., FAAO (Battle Creek VAMC, MI)

Current NAVAO office:
NAVAO Events Committee Director and Chair

Past NAVAO experience:
NAVAO Events committee 2016-current 

Practice location information:
Battle Creek VAMC 2011-present
Current Residency Program Coordinator 2014 to present 

Professional involvement:
ABCMO Member
AOA Member
AFOS Member
AAO Fellow
ACOE Consultant
Battle Creek VA Student Program Coordinator

Ferris State University, B.S.
Michigan College of Optometry, O.D.
Ocular Disease Residency, Battle Creek VA

Personal statement:
I value the relationships I have gained while working on the NAVAO Events Committee and hope to further serve NAVAO as Secretary in the coming years. Service within this organization gives me the opportunity to advance optometry within the VA and to continue to work with talented individuals who help me become a better clinician, colleague, and preceptor.  I appreciate the integral role NAVAO played in the development of VA optometry and the continued role NAVAO has advocating for VA providers, Veterans, and our profession.

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