Ellen Weiss, OD, FVI
- April Chapter of the Month: VOSH-Santa Cruz-Québec
- VOSH-Santa Cruz, Montreal (Quebec) offering ladies single vision negative glasses for mission trips
- President’s Insight: Essilor Vision Foundation Supports VOSH Chapters
- ODs Needed for Jamaica Medical Mission
- Find out more about the SVOSH Mentorship Program – Sinaloa
In March, we had a chapter relations phone call with Andrea Haymore from the Essilor Vision Foundation, and I’d like to share with our chapters this opportunity to collaborate with the Essilor Vision Foundation and tap into their Corporate Mission offerings.
Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF) is a non-profit organization committed to eliminating poor vision and its lifelong consequences, and to providing underprivileged people the opportunity to live a better life through better sight. EVF directly serves youth across the country providing eye exams and glasses, and supports vision charities and optometrists who serve underprivileged populations in the US with in-kind stock lenses and lab services. EVF looks to offset costs so charitable agencies and optometrists can extend their outreach and sustain their efforts.
How it Works:
- Vision partners are responsible for securing frames
- EVF will provide a charitable lab account and online order entry for charitable jobs via a frame-to-come model at no-cost
- Sign up online to express interest:
While EVF focuses on domestic vision needs, 2.5 New Vision Generation (2.5NVG), a Corporate Mission program, addresses the 2.5 Billion people in the world who need vision services. 2.5NVG supports the need through Ready2Clip prescription eyewear. Ready2Clip is a glasses technology available outside the US with pre-edged lenses, where left and right are interchangeable across a large frame selection. There is a nominal cost to purchase Ready2Clip eyewear – for less cost than a return flight to dispense. Contact Shindhe Gunputh (email@example.com) for more information or to purchase Ready2Clip glasses.
Essilor Vision Foundation is a proud sponsor of Optometry Cares® – The AOA Foundation’s Healthy Eyes Healthy Children Community Grants program. Optometrists are encouraged to apply for grants (up to $5,000 per project) to support intervention and examination initiatives focused on children’s vision. In addition to the grant dollars, Essilor Vision Foundation will provide lenses and lab services at no cost for awardees, offer portable examination equipment and access to discount frames, as available. Submission is open to all Optometrists with written approval from the AOA State Optometric Affiliate where the proposal resides. Please visit http://www.aoafoundation.org/HEHC to apply April – July 15, 2017.
At the beginning of this year, I set two goals. The first was to increase our outreach with our SVOSH chapters. Our SVOSH visits to each of the schools by board or committee members are coming along nicely, and the student enthusiasm is contagious. VOSH was blessed with student interns that helped us in so many ways this past year. We also hosted successful student reception in Boston in June, in conjunction with AOA, and in Anaheim at our annual meeting. If you didn’t get a chance, check out our student video contest winners on our Facebook page.
My second priority was to support the expansion of VOSH chapters in Mexico. The VOSH board has a wonderful resource in member Marcela Frazier, and with the addition of Cecilia Denny from Mexico to our VOSH/SVOSH International chapters committee and I see great potential for VOSH expanding throughout Mexico.
Following are a few other 2016 VOSH accomplishments I want to highlight….
Our newly formed VOSH chapters in Ghana, ably led by Dr. Abena Ntim, held two outreach missions. Dr. Ntim and VOSH Ghana, in conjunction with Rotary Club of Accra west, organized a free eye screening and education for the people of Kitase and the surrounding community on March 19, 2016. VOSH and the Rotarians, 24 optometry students from KNUST School of Optometry and local dignitaries worked together on this historical event.
I had the pleasure of representing VOSH at the American Partner’s Forum for Our Children’s Vision during the Vision Expo West meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to bring VOSH, Essilor Vision Foundation, Vision Impact Institute, Eyelliance, VSP, Optometry Giving Sight, World Council of Optometry, Charity Vision, Special Olympics and others together to join forces and address the lack of eyecare for children in the United States. While there, Greg Pearl and I met with Kim Schuy, president of Essilor Vision Foundation-Americas and Sam Hahn from Kids Vision for Life to brainstorm more about domestic missions and resources regarding US school kids. From this meeting, VOSH has created a calendar on our website highlighting the domestic missions and contact people, to better coordinate timing, personnel, and supplies.
In October I attended the IAPB meeting in Durban, S. Africa, where I presented a poster on the VOSH Technology Transfer Program (TTP). The speakers were excellent and the networking opportunities on behalf of VOSH immense.
In November VOSH held their annual meeting in Anaheim. We had a great line of speakers at our annual meeting this year, and panel presentations on our TTP (Technology Transfer Program) and VOSH Corps. In addition to our award winners, I had the pleasure of presenting Michel Listenberger, OD, FVI who is the VOSH historian, where I had the pleasure of presenting a Presidential Circle Award for his book “Bringing The World Into Focus. The Story of VOSH. Volunteer Optometric Services To Humanity”. Prior to the meeting, I presented at the International Optometric Educators SIG luncheon.
My job as president is to guide, provide feedback, and delegate. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, but together we’re a wonderful organization. I greatly admire our volunteer board and the time and effort they put into making VOSH the great organization that it is.
Save the Date! Our VOSH Annual Meeting this next year will be Saturday, October 14, 2017 in Chicago, with the theme “Winning Together”.
Our Children’s Vision is a new initiative spearheaded by Brien Holden Vision Institute. I had the pleasure of representing VOSH at the American Partner’s Forum for Our Children’s Vision during the Vision Expo West meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to bring VOSH, Essilor Vision Foundation, Vision Impact Institute, Eyelliance, VSP, Optometry Giving Sight, World Council of Optometry, Charity Vision, Special Olympics and others together to join forces and address the lack of eyecare for children in the United States.
An often quoted statistic is that 80 percent of learning takes place through our eyes. So it makes sense that a comprehensive eye exam is the best way to ensure that a child can see clearly at distance and near out of each eye, has eyes that come together into one clear image in the brain, and are healthy. I’ve been a licensed optometrist for 24 years now, and have worked locally to educate my patient’s parents, teachers and school nurses, and pediatricians on why it’s important for children having a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist prior to starting kindergarten. I know this has made a small difference in my community, but it’s obvious that locally and as a nation, we can do better.
The purpose of the American Partner’s Forum was to bring various different players in the eye care world together. As discussed, “Our Children’s Vision needs local, national and global partners to help screen more children, in more regions, establish stronger referral pathways, ensure comprehensive treatment, and impact sustainable change in eye care provision.” As President of VOSH, I’m proud that we’re a team player of this united approach and look forward to our organization helping improve the lives of children.