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NECO Professor Earns First Diplomate Status for Optometric Education Section

Closeup photo of Dr. Aurora Denial

Aurora Denial becomes the first optometrist to earn Diplomate Status for the Optometric Education Section at the AAO Annual Meeting in Denver

New England College of Optometry professor and department chair for the Department of Patient Care, Aurora Denial, OD, FAAO, was the first optometrist to be awarded the status of Diplomate for Optometric Education at the recent AAO Annual meeting in Denver this November.

To apply for and achieve the status of Diplomate, candidates must be active Fellows within the AAO and undergo a rigorous process. The requirements to earn the status are slightly different in each of the 8 AAO sections. For the Optometric Education Section, this status involves non-clinical scholarship such as peer-reviewed articles, research articles, case reports, analysis of current educational literature, presentations at national and international meetings, and a commitment to optometric education. After the requirements are met, the candidate sits for an oral examination to share their perspectives on teaching and learning.  

In 2010, the AAO passed a rule requiring each section to have a process for achieving Diplomate Status. As Section Chair for Optometric Education for the AAO, Denial realized the importance of inspiring other Fellows in Optometric Education to pursue this status. “Since it was new for our section, I felt we needed to start inspiring Optometric Education Fellows to apply to become distinguished educators and someone needed to lead the way. Through this, I wanted to serve as a role model for other fellows in my section.” At present, several others Fellows in Optometric Education are now working towards achieving this status as well.

Denial has joined a specialized group of 326 AAO fellows (about 7%) who have achieved distinction of becoming an American Academy of Optometry Diplomate. Her efforts have led other candidates in Optometric Education to pursue the same status. Denial explains the benefits, “The status of Diplomate indicates that you have distinguished yourself as a scholar and in your field. By pursuing this status, you continue your own personal growth and development as a professional. For some candidates, the distinction also helps with promotion and tenure.” Please join us in congratulating Dr. Denial in this distinction.