Lynn Anderson, Ph.D was interviewed by Laurie Brown, Membership Committee Chair, in late February 2017.
Laurie: I’ve known Lynn Anderson, Ph.D. as a colleague, friend, and OWL member for many years now. She is someone I look up to as a fellow ophthalmology professional, in love with the field and people it attracts. Lynn is the accomplished and extremely capable CEO of the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology with whom I served on the JCAHPO Board. She works tirelessly to ensure our ophthalmic clinical support personnel have what they need to succeed and have pathways to tremendous careers. She’s a true inspiration. Lynn, what is it about OWL that attracted you to membership?
Lynn: OWL’s mission is one that I strongly believe in, as it closely corresponds to my personal values and fits well with the outcomes that JCAHPO works to achieve in the education and certification of allied ophthalmic personnel. OWL is an excellent opportunity to network at many levels, learn from the many role models in its leadership, and participate in its educational sessions. Several people, like Laurie Brown, have also inspired and mentored me in ophthalmology and encouraged me to become involved in this leading-edge professional organization.
Laurie: Your career is inspiring to me. I feel you’ve continued learning and advancing your entire career, never backing away from a challenge. Please share your career path with us.
Lynn: My entire career has been dedicated to the non-profit sector with a focus on education, business, and public affairs. In addition, I spent several years at the University of Minnesota in the Executive Development Department of the business school. I have a PhD in Education, a Masters Degree in Business Marketing Education, (University of Minnesota), and a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and Accounting.
Along with my CEO responsibilities and presenting on behalf of JCAHPO, I have authored articles, research, and chapters for books on certification, performance-based skill assessment, simulations for training and assessment, organizational development and staffing, and patient safety. I was a Commissioner for 2 terms on the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, served on the Standards Revision Committee, served as co-editor of the Certification: A NOCA Handbook, 2nd Edition, and received the 2009 NOCA Certification Industry Leadership Award.
Laurie: Ophthalmic personnel are in dire need just about everywhere in the world and you’ve seen to it JCAHPO is continually working to address the shortage. What are some of your current projects?
Lynn: One of JCAHPO’s main initiatives this year under the leadership of Eydie Miller-Ellis, MD, JCAHPO’s President, is to strengthen the awareness of the ophthalmic assisting profession and to recruit people seeking a healthcare career, with the outcome in bridging the workforce shortage gap. JCAHPO and the Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology (ATPO) have a joint committee that is working on this initiative. A few projects are: a tool kit for clinics on strategies to recruiting and retaining the right employee; a Train-the-Trainer program for supervisors and lead team members in training new hires; a clinic-patient awareness and recruitment campaign; a workforce shortage study; and other strategies. Many allied healthcare professions are facing the same workforce shortage issues and the need for skilled employees is highly competitive. The message that ophthalmic assisting is a great career needs OWL’s support and involvement.
Laurie: OWL’s mission is to develop diverse leadership to advance ophthalmic innovation and patient care. As an OWL Governing Board member and former JCAHPO Governing Board member, I find that gels well with JCAHPO activities. Do you see the opportunity for some future collaboration?
Lynn: Yes, there are excellent opportunities for OWL and JCAHPO to collaborate – I am excited that you have ventured into this discussion. First, I mentioned that OWL can play an important role in assisting JCAHPO and ATPO’s campaign to recruit and retain skilled ophthalmic assistants to this profession. Next, OWL has a wonderful resource of members who can serve as JCAHPO faculty and authors in many of our educational programs. And, as OWL leaders and members who touch ophthalmic clinics every day, you can serve as mentors to the hundreds of men and women who are in the ophthalmic assisting profession by encouraging them to be their best in providing quality patient care.
Laurie: Finally, what has your OWL membership meant to you over the years and what advice might you give to new OWL members?
Lynn: OWL’s mission, focus, and volunteer opportunities provide a great pathway for giving back and encouraging others to grow their professional careers. As a CEO in an organization that also depends on volunteers to achieve its goals, my advice is to get involved because you can make a difference. It only takes one person to create change.