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Carlson will be first woman to assume office of AOA president

June 13, 2011

Teamwork. Family. Advocacy. Proactive Patient Care and Outreach.

These are among the top priorities of Dori Carlson, O.D., when she assumes the office of AOA president at Optometry’s Meeting® in Salt Lake City this month.

Upon taking office, she will become the first female president of the AOA.

“Being the first female is a milestone and a tremendous honor,” said Dr. Carlson, who practices in Park River, N.D. “Despite this, I have often said I wanted to be president of the AOA because I had earned it, not just because I was a woman. I want to be the right person at the right time.”

With the AOA’s recent wins in health care reform, children’s vision and its recent proactive outreach on the growing popularity of 3-D vision, the president-elect is poised to be just that – the right person at the right time.

Dr. Carlson, who is currently the liaison trustee to the Meetings Center Executive Committee, was first elected to the board in June 2004.

During her time as president-elect, Dr. Carlson has been busy with a proactive outreach campaign – Dori’s 20/20 Tour – 20 visits with optometry students in 20 months, to share information with young ODs about both the profession and the AOA, and hopefully, inspire them to use their profession as a way to make the world a better place for not only their patients, but society at large. 

Dr. Carlson also plans to continue to carry the critical message of increased access for patients in health care reform and recently held a national conference, the School Readiness Summit-Focus on Vision, in Washington, D.C., to “encourage a partnership of government and private-sector entities around cohesive strategies to provide a continuum of eye and vision care for the nation’s preschool children,” she said.

Prior to her election to the board, Dr. Carlson was the first female president of the North Dakota Optometric Association (NDOA). Within the NDOA, she chaired the Mentoring Committee, Managed Care Committee, and Hospital Privileges Committee.

Since 1999, she has been a trained consultant for the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education.

Dr. Carlson continues to serve on the North Dakota Blue Cross Blue Shield Advisory Committee and is a longstanding member of the North Dakota Legislative Committee.

Her North Dakota colleagues awarded her the Young Optometrist of the Year Award in 1994 and the Optometrist of the Year Award in 2003.

A 1989 graduate of Pacific University College of Optometry and a former resident at the American Lake and Seattle Veterans Affairs hospitals, Dr. Carlson and her husband and partner Mark Helgeson, O.D., own practices in Park River and Grafton, N.D. The doctors have two sons, Seth and Ian.

Despite a busy schedule representing the AOA, she continues to see patients, and enjoys cooking dinner for family and friends, skiing – either on snow or water – and spending summer weekends at their lake cabin in Minnesota.

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