Could also be (b/c I don't remember exactly how Access handles nulls) that no entry <> evaluate to "". Blank is typically different than NULL. Try testing for NULL.
You're already using ADO - mostly.
Add a ref to MS ADO Data Objects 2.x Library (should already be there though due to the data control)
Then add the following:
Private Sub Form_Activate()
Dim cn As ADODB.Connection
Dim rs As ADODB.Recordset
Dim sql As String
Set cn = New ADODB.Connection
.Provider = 'paste the provider portion of the connection string
'from your ado control as a string ex: "Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0"
.ConnectionString = 'paste the rest of the connection string
Set rs = New ADODB.Recordset
sql = "SELECT DISTINCT [Focus_Area_of_System] FROM [List_of_Current_Practices_SQE]"
rs.Open sql, cn, adOpenForwardOnly, adLockReadOnly
Do Until rs.EOF
Set rs = Nothing
Set cn = Nothing