April 2019


Introducing the pillars of ASCRS: Educate, advocate, donate

by Steve Speares ASCRS Executive Director

From left: Frank Burns, MD, Nancey McCann, Mr. Speares, and Nicki Greenwell, COA, at the 2018
Legislative Fly-In
Source: ASCRS


“ASCRS empowers Anterior Segment Surgeons to improve the vision, outcomes, and quality of life for their patients through innovative approaches to Education, Advocacy, and Philanthropy.”
—ASCRS mission statement

About 45 years ago in Los Angeles, a group of cataract surgeons decided to pool their collective interests to create an organization focused solely on the study of cataract surgery and intraocular lenses. They set out to explore every possible attribute, characteristic, and outcome about this expansive new frontier.
From that first gathering, the core elements that have made ASCRS an essential element of the cataract surgery landscape were laid. As we prepare for this year’s Annual Meeting in San Diego, we will do our best to tap into that original DNA as we begin a new chapter in our organization’s history.
In starting this new chapter, we have refreshed the society’s mission statement. Every organization’s mission statement is meant to communicate the essence of why the organization exists and succinctly describe its purpose. The exercise of pulling together such a message is a journey of exploration, self-reflection, and self-critique.
Our new mission statement, crafted and approved by the Executive Committee in 2018, is: “ASCRS empowers Anterior Segment Surgeons to improve the vision, outcomes, and quality of life for their patients through innovative approaches to Education, Advocacy, and Philanthropy.”
We are crystallizing our mission into three pillars of activity that show clearly how ASCRS commits to the mission and now guides our activities.

We educate

Education is at the core of our mission. The comprehensive nature in which we tackle a topic from every imaginable angle makes ASCRS unique and stand out. From patient selection, expectation, and education, to the array of diagnostic options and their applications, to meeting the challenges presented by unexpected complications, every discussion presents multiple opportunities for experiences, insights, and opinions that can be shared, vetted, and debated.
The blend of didactic, pragmatic, Socratic, and hands-on skills transfer, infused with industry insight, innovation, and expertise, gives our members the most comprehensive assessment to achieving their optimal outcomes. We seek to learn as much as possible about new technologies and collaborate with other organizations around the world that get earlier regulatory access to these technologies and bring that information to our members.
The interpersonal nature of how we collaborate, teach, and support our fellow members makes ASCRS particularly unique. At our 2019 meeting, you will hear numerous surgeons from varied backgrounds and demographics talk about the impact ASCRS education has had on their career.

We advocate

We advocate on behalf of our members by identifying, evaluating, and addressing potential legislative and regulatory issues and threats, as well as their impact on ophthalmic practices, patients, and physician reimbursement. We accomplish this by leveraging our relationships with Congress, regulatory agencies, the medical community, and industry; serving as a valuable resource by educating, assisting, and advising our members on regulatory compliance and other government-related issues that will affect their day-to-day practice; and engaging our members in the political process, including contributing to eyePAC, participating in the annual Legislative Fly-In, and getting involved in grassroots activities. Our Government Relations staff’s knowledge, expertise, and impact on behalf of members is often underestimated. We will do more to tell the story of these behind-the-scenes efforts.

We donate

We donate our time, talent, and resources. The work of the ASCRS Foundation has a life-altering impact on patients in the U.S. and abroad. Our support of fellow organizations such as ORBIS and the Himalayan Cataract Project not only impacts those patients served, but also the education and resources made available to surgeons providing care in these underserved regions of the world. The ASCRS Foundation’s Operation Sight has had a major impact on an often overlooked patient population, such as pre-Medicare eligible patients with few, if any, resources. ASCRS members give to their communities, civic organizations, and countries well beyond eyecare.
The common fabric woven through each of these pillars is the innovation that has built the reputation ASCRS enjoys today. A sharpened focus on how we educate, advocate, and donate is how we continue to build the future of this organization.

Bringing it all together

As part of bringing this all together, we will introduce a refreshed look in May. This will feature a new logo—our first in 15 years—as well as a new color scheme and tagline.
This evolution in identity and purpose is also reflected in the redesign of our society’s official magazine, EyeWorld. Through this publication we showcase the three pillars, educate, advocate, and donate. You will find a great overview discussing this in the column of EyeWorld Chief Medical Editor Eric Donnenfeld, MD, on page 3.
In addition to the magazine and our peer-reviewed Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, ASCRS has a robust library of digital content available to our members. However, getting to that content in a timely and efficient manner is one of the limitations of our current platform.
I am pleased to share with you that one of the big changes in store for our members in the near future is an overhaul of ASCRS.org. Rather than a website, ASCRS.org will become a web portal allowing members to seamlessly access archived content, browse EyeConnect discussions, update their profile and preferences, register for meetings, pay dues, and check in on their account status. Two of our most popular features—the IOL and astigmatism calculators—will remain the same. With our partners’ support, these tools will continue to help surgeons around the world in their quest for optimal outcomes.
To be an ASCRS member is to be curious, to be thoughtful, to be empathetic and understanding. It is a society of the best of the best achieving outcomes at an extraordinary level.
We invite you to contribute to our society’s community by helping to educate your fellow members, making your voice heard and advocate, and opening your heart to donate. Together these three pillars give us great reasons to celebrate the impact ophthalmologists make on each other, their patients, their communities, the nation, and the world. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego and helping us celebrate this next chapter of ASCRS.

Contact information

Speares: sspeares@ascrs.org

Introducing the pillars of ASCRS: Educate, advocate, donate Introducing the pillars of ASCRS: Educate, advocate, donate
Ophthalmology News - EyeWorld Magazine
283 110
220 234
True, 4