Candidate Profile and Statements 2023

Aug 7, 2023 | Uncategorized

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Candidate(s) for NAVAO President: 

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

NAVAO Office/Activities:
NAVAO Events Committee, Chair, 2015-2017
NAVAO Treasurer 2017 to 2019
NAVAO Vice President 2019 to 2021
NAVAO President 2021 to present

Professional involvement:
American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry (ABCMO), Executive Board member 2012 to present
AAO Admittance Committee 2013-2022
VA Optometry Professional Standards Board 2021-present
American Optometric Association (AOA), member
Association of Armed Forces and Federal Optometric Services (AFOS) member

Personal statement:
In serving this soon to conclude term, my commitment to the VA Optometry community has only strengthened.  The role NAVAO plays in organized optometry is unique and requires broad cooperation.  That cooperation is cultivated by relationship building that takes time and experience.  And as valuable as organizational relationships are, it is also important to be mindful of what differentiates VA Optometry from non-VA.  In maintaining that as a priority, NAVAO leadership remains faithful to its mission.  If re-elected, I will continue the work in which our board is engaged and do my best to honor the legacy of the NAVAO leaders who came before me. 

Candidate(s) for NAVAO Vice-President: 

Jarett A. Mazzarella, O.D., FAAO (Salisbury VA HCS, Salisbury, NC)

NAVAO Office/Activities:
NAVAO Membership Committee 2019-present
NAVAO Vice President 2021-Present

Professional involvement:
Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO)
AAO admittance committee sub chair
Completed AAO Flom leadership course series and was a group facilitator 22-23′
Peer reviewer OVS
Co-chair of the VA Optometry Clinical Leadership Board (CLB)
Association of Armed Forces and Federal Optometric Services (AFOS) member
American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry (ABCMO)

Personal Statement:
As VP of NAVAO, I would continue to promote Optometry within VA and advocate for our VA doctors enabling them to provide the best possible eyecare for our Veterans. I believe in promoting optometric education, optometric residency, and board certification within our profession. I would champion NAVAO as a “voice” for VA optometrists and our profession.

Candidate(s) for NAVAO Secretary:

Ellen Prewitt, O.D., FAAO (Tuscaloosa VAMC, AL)

NAVAO Office/Activities:
NAVAO Member, 2019-present

Professional involvement:
American Optometric Association, member
Birmingham Area Optometric Association, member
Association of Armed Forces and Federal Optometric Services (AFOS) member
American Academy of Optometry, Fellow
Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) Reviewer
Medical Records Committee, Tuscaloosa VAMC, Co-chair
Optometry Student Externship Director, Tuscaloosa VAMC
Volunteer attending optometrist with UABSO chapter of SVOSH/Lions Club

Personal Statement:
As a former student extern, resident, and now staff optometrist and externship director at the Tuscaloosa VAMC, I have witnessed the impact those who mentored me have had on VA eye care on both a VISN and national level. Many providers have benefited from their efforts and I am eager to be involved in doing my part to help advance our profession within the VA. I am detail-oriented and believe that I possess the organizational skills necessary to successfully fill the role of Secretary and look forward to the opportunity to serve.

Megan D. Tomsik, O.D., FAAO (Biloxi VA Medical Center, MS)

NAVAO Office/Activities:
NAVAO Professional Relations Committee 2022-present

Professional involvement:
American Academy of Optometry Student Fellow in 2016 and Fellow in 2021
American Optometric Association (AOA), member
Association of Armed Forces and Federal Optometric Services (AFOS) member
COPE Reviewer for the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO), 2021-Present
Visual Impairment Services Team for the Biloxi Facility (2020-Present)

Personal Statement:
I am currently the Chief of Optometry Education at the Biloxi facility and the VISN 16 Mentor.  In the three years that I have been full-time at the VA, I have jumped hurdles to establish the first student externship at our facility and to pursue further professional attainment. I am someone who is very energetic and willing to push myself for the good of our profession and also our patients/veterans.  For over a year, I have been the interim low vision doctor for the blind rehab facility at our institution due to it being without a low vision doctor. I have performed these duties on top of my full-time clinical care because I did not want the blind veterans to be restricted access to such a wonderful benefit.  I have no doubt I have the energy, drive, and passion to be the secretary of NAVAO.    It would be an absolute honor to serve VA optometrists in this role. Thank you for your consideration of your vote! I promise I will not let you down!

Candidate(s) for NAVAO Treasurer:

Andrew J. Crist, O.D., FAAO (VA Central Ohio (Columbus, OH))

NAVAO Office/Activities:
Member, 2016-present
Finance committee member, 2021-present 

Professional involvement:
Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO), 2019-present
American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry (ABCMO) member, 2023-present
VA Central Ohio Optometry Student Externship Program Director, 2016-present
Optometry SME for Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor (MSPV) program, 2019-present
FAB Electronic Medical Records/Information – Cerner Subcommittee member, 2022-present

Personal Statement:
I sincerely appreciate the nomination to be considered for role of Treasurer. Every day I am proud to provide care to our Veterans and feel fortunate to have a career as a VA optometrist. NAVAO has been a great resource and advocate for our profession, which so many of us, me included, have benefited. Therefore, I hope that I have the opportunity to do my part, give back, and contribute to the continued success of NAVAO. I strongly believe I have the knowledge, the attention to detail, and the dedication required to serve as NAVAO Treasurer. Thank you for your consideration as it would be an honor to serve.



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