Home News WO Welcomes Six New Professional Advisory Board Members

WO Welcomes Six New Professional Advisory Board Members

Women In Optometry announces its six new board members for 2024-2026. The board consists of a group of 18 ODs, each serving a two-year term. Half of the board has traditionally switched off each year. Join us in welcoming our six new members.

Ruchi Gandhi portrait, close, up. Dr. Gandhi is a member of the 2024-26 WO advisory board
Dr. Gandhi

Ruchi Gandhi, OD, Locust Grove, Georgia
Dr. Gandhi practices at a multidisciplinary OD/MD private practice, Takle Eye Group. Her areas of interest are dry eyes and ocular disease. As a member of the Georgia Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association and one of the co-founders of the Georgia Southeast Asian Optometrists organization, she would like to focus more attention on diversity, equity and inclusion. She say’s it’s also important for WO readers to read more about “how to reinvent yourself in the field, optometry burnout, community involvement and various opportunities to get involved, applying for board certification later in your career, work/life balance and growth in practice without being a practice owner.”
Samantha Hornberger, OD, West Harrison, Indiana
Dr. Samantha Hornberger owns a private practice, Bright Family Eye Care, on the southeastern edge of Indiana, just 30 minutes outside Cincinnati, Ohio. She practices full-scope optometry and specializes in dry eye, contact lenses and myopia management. Dr. Hornberger built her practice around being a good listener, communicator and problem-solver. She’s also a CE lecturer and a speaker and consultant in the optometric industry.
She says she loves seeing how many female practice owners there are and hopes to see the numbers continue to grow. “I think as women, we have a unique perspective on business, as well as healthcare,” she says. She’s also an advocate for women in positions of power in the industry

Sathi Maiti in dark top and fashionable eyewear, a new member of the WO advisory board
Dr. Matii

Sathi Maiti, OD, FAAO, Seattle, Washington
Dr. Maiti has a busy schedule with several practice locations and engaging in research. She splits her time between a traditional practice, seeing seeing patients at a sublease inside a SEE Eyewear location and occasionally working for a private practice called Eye Eye in Seattle. She is involved with clinical research primarily on sponsored and investigator-initiated clinical trials related to ocular surface disease at the Periman Eye Institute, for which she writes and publishes the work and presents it at conferences. “I also write for outlets like Eyes on Eyecare, lecture on dry eye and related topics and consult for ocular surface disease focused companies like Tarsus.”
Dr. Maiti brings a unique perspective to the WO board, “from research and industry work as well as almost 10 years in clinical practice. I would love to be a mentor/source of info for younger and other ODs looking to get into non-clinical work or expand the breadth of the type of work they do outside of standard practice.”

Dr. Julie Poteet, in a black turtleneck against a black background - a new member of the 2024-2026 advisory board
Dr. Poteet

Julie Poteet, OD, MS, CNS, FONS, Acworth, Georgia
Dr. Poteet brings her passion for nutrition and wellness to the WO advisory board. She works in a large five-doctor practice that has been acquired by MyEyeDr. “We are a full-scope optometric practice and a Macular Degeneration Center of Excellence. I am also very involved in the American Nutrition Association where I am on their board. My passion is preventing disease through nutrition and lifestyle interventions and using evidence-based nutrition to mitigate the course of disease,” she says. She served on the Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society board, six years as vice president and three years as president. Through her and the board’s work, ODs are now eligible to become Certified Functional Medicine Practitioners and Certified Nutrition Specialists.
Dr. Poteet notes that there is a growing interest in the field of medicine that focuses on “the power of food and lifestyle to influence the risk and progression of chronic diseases. We as a profession are perfectly poised to be on the frontlines of the wellness movement as we have the ability, through our imaging technologies, to view the microvascular system on every patient. The eyes are the windows to systemic health.

Dr. Richard

Melissa Richard, OD, MS, Chalfont, Pennsylvania

Dr. Richard opened her practice, Spectrum Vision Care, as a cold-start in 2016 after working 10 years in various practice settings. Over her career, she’s worked at a large MD/OD practice, hospital and corporate-affiliated practices and in a practice that offered low vision services exclusively. “I learned what I liked and what I didn’t by working in those various positions, and I created my own practice to reflect that. I see a mix of routine exams, neuro-optometry, low vision, medical (AMD, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma), and have recently built a successful dry eye piece of my practice. I embrace technology, which I believe helps me provide the best care to my patients. My biggest passion is Neurolens and the life-changing effect it has for so many of my patients.”

Dr. Richard brings her perspective as a business owner who went from cold-start to hitting revenues of more than $1 million a year within seven years. “I started my practice with a young family and had to learn to juggle practice ownership, being a doctor, and being a mother.” In addition, she is an advocate for women having a larger share of the voice as industry key opinion leaders. She’s been a speaker for Neurolens and Lumenis and has recently been invited to speak for LKC. “I get to meet a lot of people and get to travel,” which adds a new dimension to her work.

 

Dr. Shoge

Ruth Shoge, OD, MPH, FAAO, Berkeley, California

Dr. Shoge is the inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry and Vision Science. She also serves as the chair of the Diversity and Cultural Competency Committee for the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. Her company, RYS Consultants, focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the optometric industry. Her eye care interests include binocular vision, vision therapy, and learning- and TBI-related vision disorders.
Dr. Shoge says, “As women, we have done a wonderful job advocating for ourselves to be well-represented in the profession. We became 50% of practicing optometrists just a couple of short years ago, and women are well above 50% of the enrollment in optometry schools across the country. We continue to shape not only how the profession looks but also how it operates. The three things that I think our profession will continue to prioritize are community health, technology in medicine and diversity and inclusion. I’d love to see more women in leadership roles in every corner of the industry and see that they play an integral role in the aforementioned priorities.”

What do YOU want to see from the WO board this year? Let us know.

 

Read more news from WO here.

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