by Adrienne Chan, Illinois College of Optometry, NORA National Student Liaison

The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, also affectionately known as NORA, is a multidisciplinary group of professionals working together to achieve one goal: to help patients regain their true potential following a brain injury.

The operative word here is “multidisciplinary.” Unlike other optometric organizations, the NORA family is small but close-knit and diverse, made up of not only optometrists, but occupational therapists, neuropsychologists, chiropractors, and researchers just to name a few.

Where else but at NORA’s Annual Multidisciplinary Conference can you witness the genius of a renowned addiction psychiatrist, learn from an athletic therapist about concussions, or become inspired by the story-telling of a TBI survivor recounting his painful road to recovery? This is what makes NORA so special.

For decades, the organization and its members recognized that brain injury affects the person as a whole, not just a part, and thus a collaborative interdisciplinary team is essential when it comes to patient care.

This interdisciplinary approach is proven to prevent inconsistencies in rehabilitation and therapy to the greater benefit of the patient and to improved treatment outcomes.

Medicine has long since adopted the interdisciplinary team approach and optometrists are quickly following their lead. Therefore, I encourage all of you, fellow prospective optometrists, to be a part of an interdisciplinary team when you begin your careers.

Become acquainted with an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or even speech language pathologist, as I am sure you know of a friend of a friend in the field. Reach out to them and say, “I want to work with you.”

Invite them to join you at the next NORA annual meeting to see what it’s all about. Teach each other. Learn from one another. But most importantly, help make someone’s life better, together.

To learn more about NORA and the 25th Annual Multidisciplinary Conference in Reno, Nev., from Sept. 22-25, 2016, please visit http://nora.cc.

To start a NORA Student Chapter at your college or school of optometry, please contact nora.student.members@gmail.com.