President's Message

“Have the Vision to Learn and Grow”

Welcome to ATPO we are happy you have found us! My name is Sarah Gill and I am the current President of ATPO. I have been in ophthalmology since 2007 and am the Clinical Trainer at Virginia Eye Institute. I, like so many of us, started out without any knowledge of ophthalmology and have worked in several capacities within the office, including front desk, billing, technician, lead technician, management, and now as a full-time trainer. Teaching has been a passion of mine since I was young, so I am thrilled to use my first love of teaching with my new love of ophthalmology every day!

Sarah Gill, COT, OSCAt ATPO, educating ophthalmic professionals is a priority. We know that with knowledge and understanding comes efficiency and competency, so we strive to offer the best educational opportunities to our members to equip them for success. We also know that socializing with professionals like yourself is important. We offer opportunities to collaborate with colleagues to increase your knowledge, skills, and efficiency in the clinic, to advocate for the profession, and provide career development.

A couple of years ago ATPO came up with the slogan “Eye ATPO, Do YOU?”, so here is why Eye ATPO!

Eye ATPO because Eye Am a person who loves to gain and share knowledge. When I fell into ophthalmology, I fell in love with it! The eyes are so complex and I couldn’t wait to really learn and understand more about them, how they function, and what they can tell us about the rest of the body. I was very lucky that the doctor who hired me wanted to train someone without prior ophthalmology knowledge. I am grateful to him and the senior physician for giving me the foundation that I needed to work in this field. I have been to work with several doctors, in all specialties, and even had the opportunity to help residents learn. I love my current job as a Clinical Trainer and enjoy spending my days sharing my knowledge of ophthalmology, yet still learning at the same time!

Eye ATPO because Eye Can do anything within this field! I have held several jobs within ophthalmology which has allowed me to understand how each job is important. From the first phone call the patient makes, to their interaction with the doctor, to the billing after the appointment, it takes everyone doing their part to make an office efficient. I started at the front desk and am now working as a Clinical Trainer, you too can find your niche within ophthalmology!

Eye ATPO because Eye Do truly love and appreciate this profession and I want everyone to know it! Heck, even strangers know it because my license plate says EYE NRD! I recently saw a post on social media asking “when did you start to think of this job as a career instead of ‘just a job’?” I cannot really put my finger on it, but in 2012 I met an incredible technician and friend, who encouraged me to see what all of ophthalmology had to offer. About a year later, I went to work at a university whereI had the privilege of working with extraordinary doctors who loved to teach--and I was ready to learn! In 2014, I went to my first American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy) meeting, and I was hooked! The following year I was teaching. Through those meetings, I have met some incredibly smart and talented technicians from across the country, who shared their passion of teaching and ophthalmology with me. They directed me towards ATPO, which has provided the outlet for me to repay all that I have received in this profession! With ATPO, I have had the opportunity to not only share my excitement about this profession, but also advocate for the profession, and educate those who wanted to learn more.

Eye ATPO because Eye Will always want to do my best and be challenged to be a lifelong learner, and there is no lack of knowledge to be learned in this profession! Even though I love all of ophthalmology, I do have a favorite specialty and that is neuro-ophthalmology. It is fascinating how the eyes are truly an extension of the brain and how a simple visual field defect can point the doctors where to look for the problem. I enjoyed applying the problem solving skills needed to accurately help the doctor have a deferential diagnosis before they even walked into the exam lane to see the patient. I have worked with some amazing neuro doctors over the years and I am appreciative of their willingness to teach me and motivate me to strive to be better!

Our profession is one that is mainly learned on the job. Even for those who go through a formal university program, the true learning doesn’t really happen until you are in the clinic working with patients and putting everything together. While I have been blessed with having worked with some great doctors, I wouldn’t have been able to reach, and go beyondmy potential without the help of my colleagues in ATPO and the leadership and inspiration that they have provided. Eye ATPO because I have reaped the benefits of this association by tenfold and I hope that I can serve and help inspire the current and future ophthalmic professionals through ATPO!

Warm Regards,
Sarah Gill, COT, OSC

Past Presidents

Credentials listed were valid at the date the award was issued.

  • 2020 - Jacqueline Pullos, COMT, OSC, CTC
  • 2019 - Matthew Parker, PhD, LSSMBB, PMP, CTC, COMT, CST
  • 2018 - Jessica M. Barr, COMT, ROUB
  • 2017 - Amy Jost, BS, COMT, CCRC, CTC
  • 2016 - Sergina Flaherty, COMT, OSC
  • 2015 - Christine McDonald, COE, COA, ROUB, OSC
  • 2014 - Michelle Kaminski, COT, OSC
  • 2013-2014 - Bobbi Ballenberg, COMT
  • 2012 - Mona Carpenter, BS, COMT
  • 2011 - Martha Moos, BS, COMT, OSA
  • 2010 - Michelle Willis, COMT, OSA, COP
  • 2009 - Aaron Shukla, PhD, COMT
  • 2008 - Karen Susco, COMT
  • 2007 - Mary Kay Smit, COT
  • 2006 - Deborah McDonald, COT, CRA
  • 2005 - Carol J. Pollack-Rundle, COMT
  • 2003-2004 - Natalie Loyacano, COT, CSA
  • 2002 - Krissa Lyse B. Drentlaw, COT, CSA
  • 2001 - Deborah Diggins, COMT, CRA
  • 2000 - Lisa Rovick COMT, CO
  • 1999 - Donna Applegate, COT
  • 1997 - Debra Baker, COMT
  • 1996, 1998 - Ella Rosamont-Morgan, COMT
  • 1993 - Cynthia A. Dean, COMT
  • 1992 - Pamela D. Elder (Lichtenstein), COMT
  • 1991 - Helene G. Siegel, COMT
  • 1990, 1994 - Todd A. Hostetter, COMT
  • 1988 - Phyllis Fineberg (Goldsmith)
  • 1987 - Phil H. Weber, COMT, CRA
  • 1986, 1989 - Paul M. Larson, COMT
  • 1985, 1995 - Yvonne D. Fields Lamb, COT
  • 1984 - John (Jack) Taylor, Jr., COT
  • 1982 - Michelle Pett Herrin, COMT, CO
  • 1981 - Kenneth E. Woodworth, Jr., COMT
  • 1978, 1979 - Linda K. Hirte, COMT
  • 1977 - Norma Garber, COMT
  • 1975, 1976 - Andrea Olliff, COT
  • 1973, 1974 - Doris Clark Gaston, COMT
  • 1972 - Edward Christensen, COT
  • 1970, 1971 - Richard J. Augustine, COMT