Meet Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, ASCO President


A Short Conversation with Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, ASCO President

Each July, ASCO swears in a new President to serve for the year. This year’s President, Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, sat down with ASCO’s Director of Communications, Kimberly O’Sullivan to talk about the next twelve months.

Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe is a proud alumna of Ferris State University College of Optometry, graduating with the class of 1988. She earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Yale University, and a Doctorate in Public Health from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Hoppe has a true pioneering spirit, and along the way has accomplished several notable firsts. She is the first woman to complete the residency program at the Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center at the West Haven, Connecticut VA. She is the first woman to hold both the OD degree and the Doctorate of Public Health. She is the first woman to earn a diplomate in the American Academy of Optometry’s Public Health and Environmental Optometry Section. She is the first woman to serve as the editor of the journal Optometric Education. In 2007 she became one of the first women to serve as the CEO and Dean of a College of Optometry in the United States, and one of only 22 individuals who has had the honor of serving as a founder of a College of Optometry in our professional history in the U.S.

ASCO: Dr. Hoppe, congratulations on being named ASCO President for fiscal year 2019-2020. What are you excited for most?

Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe: I am most excited to stretch and grow as I work to support creative strategies for ASCO to fulfill its organizational mission.

ASCO: What will be some of your top priorities this year?

EH: The quantity, quality, and diversity of our applicant pool remains a top priority for ASCO, and in fact overall for the future of our profession. We have put a lot of resources and support towards increasing awareness about our profession, targeting potential applicants. I am looking forward to seeing those efforts take off and expand over the coming year.  I am thrilled to see, in less than four months, the metrics of the campaign are outstanding. The campaign continues to reach millions of potential students and engage these students through paid and social media, direct mail, the campaign’s landing page, and other deliverables. I am excited to see the outreach grow larger these next several months.

ASCO is also working to increase opportunities for volunteerism, while also seeking greater recognition for our volunteers. We will be working on refreshing our organizational structure and updating our bylaws to capture the dynamics of our changing organization, while we also work to implement key elements of our strategic plan.

ASCO: Talk to me more about the Optometry Gives Me Life campaign. How is it going so far? How are the institutions involved? What outcomes are you hoping to achieve? Any results you can share with us so far?

EH: The campaign has made quite a splash within our Optometry community as we have begun sharing the materials as part of the roll out. Many schools are sharing the information within their networks, such as faculty members, alumni, and preceptors, along with including the campaign in their social media.

But the real reach isn’t our internal audiences – it is college-aged juniors who have expressed an interest in STEM careers. Just recently, our public relations firm showed us some early analytics from the campaign and they are very very encouraging.

For instance, in just a little over four months, our paid ads have been seen by more than 14 million people! The benchmark for click to open rates of these types of ads is 0.1 % and we are showing open rates of .14% — that’s 40% higher than average!

We feature short stories about three of our ODs through our landing page and our viewing through completion rate is out of this world. The benchmark is 30% completion rate and we are showing a completion rate of 75.39% — 140% higher than average.

We are seeing a 151.5% increase in applications through our OptomCAS system compared to this time last year. The results are extremely promising.

ASCO:  What drew you to optometry? What did you find most appealing about the field of optometry?

EH:  Like many people, I really respected and admired my own home town optometrist. I knew that I wanted to do something in science and health care, and when my high school physics teacher suggested optometry as a good choice, it seemed like a natural fit because of my positive experiences with my own doctor. What I love most about the profession is how broad it really is. Whatever your passion, you can find your niche within optometry.

ASCO: If you were speaking with a student who is interested in becoming a Doctor of Optometry or with a student who has the aptitude but may not know about optometry, what advice would you give them?

EH:  Visit a lot of different optometry practices. Find different practice emphasis areas and different practice modalities to learn more about the day-to-day experience. Talk with doctors of optometry and ask them to share more about their experiences and what they enjoy about their practices. Many years ago, when I was choosing to pursue optometry, visiting multiple practices was so beneficial. The thing that all of the different doctors had in common was a very high level of career satisfaction and they enjoyed going in to work every day.

ASCO: You are the founding Dean at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Optometry. Tell me about what you like about your institution and California, etc.

EH:  The thing that I like best about being at a health sciences university is the opportunity to learn from, and to collaborate with, other health professions. There is so much wonderful information that you can learn when you talk with other health professionals and other health professions educators. And we get to contribute to them right back!

ASCO: I would think balancing your responsibilities at Western and your responsibilities with ASCO could be a challenge. How will you balance everything?

EH:  I have a great administrative team at the College and I have a lot of confidence in them!

ASCO: We like to ask everyone we speak with to say something about the field of optometry that people may not know.

EH:  Clinically, I love working in the field of rehabilitation. There are many ways that you can support people through optometric vision therapy, low vision rehabilitation, neuro-optometric rehabilitation, and care for vulnerable populations. When you practice in this area it challenges you to be at your highest levels and it also allows you to make the greatest difference. Working in rehabilitation allows you to literally change people’s lives by improving their ability to function and enhancing their quality of life.

ASCO: On a more personal note, tell us a little about your life outside of the workplace. What do you like to do outside of work?

EH:  I love to take on DIY home decorating projects. We recently moved and I have been transforming the dining room into a home wine bar experience. I love to garden, with special emphasis on supporting wildlife such as butterflies and other pollinators, hummingbirds, and song birds. I am proud to say that even with limited space, I have been able to establish a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. I also love to help keep old, discarded furniture out of the land-fill by doing upscale re-purposing projects. Recent creations include a “glam martini bar” and a “wine and cheese portable island” which I donated for silent auctions to raise scholarship funds through our University. At home my most recent creations are an armoire dog kennel and a combined seating and storage banquet remake of an old dresser from the Salvation Army. I love any chance to use my power tools!

Thank you for your time Dr. Hoppe! We look forward to working with you!