AOA Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Duenas Named Chair of PCORI Improving Health Care Systems Panel

AOA Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Dueñas Named Chair of PCORI Improving Healthcare Systems Panel

Alexandria, VA (August 29, 2016) - Michael R. Dueñas, O.D., FNAP, Chief Public Health Officer for the American Optometric Association (AOA), has been named chair of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems (IHS). The PCORI Board of Governors approved Dr. Dueñas on Feb. 2, 2014, for a three-year term on the panel, the first time an optometrist had ever been appointed to the panel that guides national priorities for research and improving health care delivery.

Authorized by the U.S. Congress, PCORI's advisory panels prioritize clinical research that helps develop the best evidence-based information for patients and caregivers to reference and make informed decisions that lead to an overall improvement in health care outcomes. The IHS advisory panel was one of four established on April 1, 2013, to provide recommendations to PCORI's Board of Governors to help plan, develop, implement and refine the institute's research agenda.

"This well-earned recognition for one of our own, Dr. Dueñas, underscores optometry's leadership in driving evidence-based patient care," says Andrea P. Thau, O.D., president of the AOA. "Chairing this panel will secure optometry's seat at the table as an equal partner with a wide range of other health care stakeholders as this panel takes on its national role in improving health care delivery and outcomes."

Membership in the PCORI panels is highly selective, and in total, PCORI reported that in this most recent 2016 round, 405 panel nominations were received from more than 40 professional organizations for 45 open positions. Timothy Daaleman, DO, MPH, Professor and Vice Chair of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, will serve on the IHS panel as Co-Chair.

According to Dr. Dueñas, "PCORI's mandate to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, clinicians, employers, insurers, and policy makers make informed health decisions, speaks loudly to the need to transform vision research at schools and colleges of optometry."

More specifically, he added that "PCORI can assist optometry, together with other professions and our patients, in better understanding new research methods and funding opportunities for comparative clinical effectiveness research, or CER. We know that with more optometry involvement, it will contribute to improving all health care systems."

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit