ATLANTA – Darby Chiasson, OD, SECO International president, and James Herman, OD, incoming president, told reporters at a press conference how the organization is offering more education to optometrists through its Atlanta and London meetings.
Chiasson said more than 400 hours of education are available to attendees to SECO in Atlanta this year.
"We increased the number of hours this year by 21 on both sides – the OD and paraoptometric side, he said. "That's what we believe SECO is known for – the education destination."
Darby Chiasson (L) and James Herman (R)
Source: SECO 2014
The event features several new programs as well.
"This year, we are launching a new SECO Clinical Trends Survey research project," Herman announced. "This survey will ask attendees key questions related to current issues they face on a daily basis. The goal is to obtain information we can use to address future education efforts, both in our main program and through CE educational grants we provide. It is our hope to close educational gaps and provide the most relevant education for our attendees.”
Elizabeth Taylor, executive director of SECO, explained that staff is walking around the conference with iPads for participants to take the survey through Sunday morning. Organizers are looking for more than 1,000 participants after recording 30 within the first 2 hours. All participants who take the survey are entered to win an iPad.
A new matchmaking program designed for buyers and suppliers of the industry has also gotten some "great feedback," according to Chiasson.
"New this year, ‘Eye to Eye, the Visionary Exchange’ meeting, is another initiative to respond to industry needs and bring attendees together," Chiasson explained. “It is an entirely new event developed for the vision and eye wear marketplace and puts key vision buyers face-to-face with suppliers and manufacturers to create new relationships.”
Taylor disclosed that the Atlanta conference had close to 6,000 registered attendees with the potential for 2,000 more. The attendance numbers will be audited after the conference.
Additionally, Chiasson responded to talks about moving SECO to other cities.
"SECO is definitely in Atlanta until 2025. There was talk of that [moving to other cities], but as a board and a group of tradition at SECO, Atlanta is the place for us."
Chiasson also discussed SECO’s 2-day London meeting held in October in conjunction with the Association of Optometrists (AOP).
"We had double the amount of U.S. attendees that we had in 2012,” he said. “There were close to 87 attendees from the U.S., U.K., Russia and Malaysia.”
Chiasson said the meeting, now going into its third year, has outgrown the AOP headquarters and will be held in a hotel in central London.
“The U.S. doctors that were there were ecstatic and look forward to coming back next year," he said.
The 2013 meeting provided 11 COPE-approved hours of continuing education for U.S. optometrists and 15 CET hours for U.K. doctors. This year’s meeting will be held Sept. 28 and Sept. 29, according to Chiasson. – by Chelsea Frajerman