After being an associate for about eight years, Melissa Tada, OD, of Mountain View Vision in Colorado Springs, Colorado, opened a private practice, with one doctor, one exam lane and one shared employee. That was in August 2007, and in December of that year, she joined Vision Source® and credits the organization with helping her grow. “Today I have a wonderful partner and an associate doctor, and we have 13 full-time staff members. At every phase in my practice, Vision Source has given me new tools to bring the practice to the next level,” she says.
Dr. Tada, a former high school science teacher, is also a member of the Vision Source advisory board, a seven-member board of ODs who provide feedback to the executive leadership team on which programs and resources would be most helpful to the network of optometrists and how they could reasonably and efficiently be implemented.
Dr. Tada says that she accepted the position to serve on the advisory board because “I wanted to understand better the inner workings, the decision-making process and the goal planning that takes place on a corporate level in Vision Source,” she says. “I truly believe that Vision Source originated for the betterment of private practice optometry, and it still maintains that vision today.” However, to keep that connection between theory and the practical application of new ideas grounded, it’s important to have multiple perspectives, which the board provides.
“I thought my point of view would be valuable,” says Dr. Tada, a primary care OD who has broad interests in treating children, managing ocular disease and specialty contact lens fittings. Practicing in Colorado’s dry climate, there’s also a demand for her experience in treating dry eye symptoms.
“I absolutely love what I do,” she says, noting that seeing patients is the best part of her day. But she’s also invigorated by the business management details of working with staff, dealing with patients and vendor representatives and understanding billing and coding and insurance requirements. “I want my mode of practice to thrive and continue to be the best option for personal and professional growth. I truly believe that the private practice OD provides the best care to our patients because of our relationships,” she says.
She’s also happy to serve as a role model and mentor for other women. “There are a lot of women in the profession who are not sure they can run a practice and have a great personal life. I’m here to show them that this is a great option. I may approach it differently than my male colleagues, but we all attain high levels of professional and personal fulfillment.”
She’s also a believer in the idea that optometrists can leave the profession better than how they found it. “My goal is for private practice to continue to lead the way. We are the practitioners who are active on the political front, in the realm of managed care and progressing our scope to allow us to practice to the full extent of our education,” she says. She has found that Vision Source has helped her and others have a strong voice and a seat at the table. “The profession of optometry will look different in the future than it does today, but it is ours to build and lead.”