ASCO Releases Two DEI Training Resources: Cultural Competency Virtual Workshop and Toolkit

January 10, 2023

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) announces the release of two new diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging resources available free of charge for use by all in the profession interested in learning more about offering culturally competent patient care.

These two new resources, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging — A Virtual Cultural Competency Workshop and the Cultural Competence In Eye and Vision Care: A Toolkit round out ASCO’s Eye on Diversity initiative, generously sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision.

The Virtual Cultural Competency Workshop is an on-demand training resource developed by Dr. Keshia S. Elder, OD, MS, MS, FAAO, the first African American female in the nation to lead a school of optometry (University of Missouri at St. Louis). Other contributors involved in the preparation of the workshop include Drs. Ruth Shoge, Director of DEIB and Associate Clinical Professor at the University   of California – Berkeley, Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science, and Dr. Gary Chu, Vice President for Professional Affairs at the New England College of Optometry.

This workshop is intended for anyone in the optometric community – students, residents, faculty, practitioners, practice staff, etc. – and covers topics such as DEIB concepts overview, social and cultural identifiers, bias and ways to identify bias. Optometric educators can use this virtual workshop in their classrooms, administrators can use it during faculty meetings, and Doctors of Optometry can use it for staff training.

The Toolkit is a valuable publication written by Drs. A. Philip Aitsebaomo, Melissa Contreras, Keshia S. Elder, Crystal Lewandowski, and Janette D. Pepper. Topics included are: health disparities and social determinants of health; cultural competence and humility; implicit and cognitive bias in health care; inclusive clinic practices; inclusive strategies in practice management; curriculum integration and teaching strategies; pegagogical framework; case examples and evaluation techniques. The Toolkit can be used in conjunction with the virtual workshop or as a stand-alone publication and is available in both a PDF and flipbook format.

These resources are available online through ASCO’s Learning Center, also sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision. Access to these resources can be found here:



“Johnson & Johnson Vision is proud to be a leader in this important space, and of the great work that ASCO has done through the Eye on Diversity initiative,” says Dr. Charissa Lee, Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Head of North America Professional Affairs. “We are optimistic that these newest ASCO resources, along with the prior projects, will create real impact for our patients, the optometric community, and will serve as a solid foundation, as we all continue to grow our DEI efforts.”

“ASCO thanks Johnson & Johnson Vision for its leadership and commitment to our efforts to expand diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in optometric education.,” says ASCO President, Dr. Melissa Trego. “J&J also generously sponsored our Eye on Diversity Speaker Series, the Voices of Diversity video series, and the Optometry Gives Me Life campaign. ASCO’s dedication to diversity within our member schools and colleges does not stop with these resources. We will continue to support and mentor all our students and faculty to become better Doctors of Optometry and people.”