An old-timer by Highlands Ranch standards, Dr. Mitchell Munson opened the first optometric practice in the community in 1988 when the population was just 6,900.
After 25 years of practice locally, Munson has gone from a big fish in a small pond to a very large fish in a very big pond. On June 29 Munson will become the 92nd president of the American Optometric Association and just the second ever from Colorado.
Munson, who opened the Highlands Ranch Vision Center with his wife and partner Dr. Susan Brunnett, has served as a trustee of the AOA since 2006 and spent the bulk of last year traveling the country as president-elect of the 36,000-member body.
The former president of the Colorado Optometric Association in 1995 and 1996 expects to spend about half of the coming year living out of a suitcase as he leads the nation’s largest optometric association, representing all 50 states, optometrists in the armed forces and optometry students across the U.S.
“One of the things we have been concentrating on and will continue to concentrate on is preparing our members for the implementation of health care reform,” he said. “We need to make sure everyone is ready.”
Munson, who served as chair of the AOA’s Political Action Committee in 2004, has spent a great deal of time the past few years meeting with politicians and working with the AOA’s Washington lobbyists to ensure optometrists get a fair shake.
He said a lot of the association’s efforts have had to do with ensuring optometrists receive the same reimbursements as ophthalmologists for performing the same procedures, and that they will have appropriate access to patients once the new health-care laws kick in Jan. 1.
Munson’s Ridgeline Boulevard practice is home to four eye doctors and specializes in routine eye care, cornea and contact lens disease, and glaucoma treatment.
A 1986 graduate of the Southern California College of Optometry, Munson has been involved in Highlands Ranch since his arrival.
Known as the “cow-eye guy” to many, he has performed cow eye dissections for second-grade classrooms in Highlands Ranch every year dating back to 1989. He was the medical coordinator for the Channel 9 Health Fair from 1988-1996 and also served as a Douglas County planning commissioner from 2006-2007. All three of Munson and Brunnett’s daughters are Mountain Vista High School graduates.