Recap of the VOSH 25th Annual Meeting

VOSH/International hosted its 25th annual meeting on October 14, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  Ninety- two people attended a full day of speakers, breakout sessions, exhibitors and networking. There were speakers from around the world including the USA, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam, El Salvador and Nicaragua. These speakers highlighted how VOSH/International and VOSH chapters have truly become an international force for optometry by providing care with local optometry and helping to educate optometry students in new optometry schools.  As VOSH moves to collaborates with local optometry and health care, our impact has become greater. Also at the Annual Meeting, there were two awards given for exemplary service.  The Humanitarian of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Sandra Bury of Oak Lawn, Illinois.  Dr. Bury has been active in VOSH-Illinois since 1995.  She participates in both local and international clinic trips and, in addition, Dr. Bury is the mayor of her town. The Harry I. Zeltzer Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Ellis Potter. Dr. Potter has had a lifetime of service as a Boy Scout, Rotarian and Optometrist.  Notably, Dr. Potter also became the first ever recipient of the American Academy of Optometry’s Brien Holden Humanitarian Award.  He received this award at the 2017 AAO meeting immediately preceding the VOSH/International meeting. To read Dr. Potter’s powerful remarks when accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award, please click here. Both Drs. Bury and Potter are classic examples of the people involved in VOSH.  People with big hearts that have volunteerism as an essential part of who they are.  These two and the other nominees for the Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the...

VOSH Represented at the WCO Meeting in India

President-Elect Tracy Matchinski and I had the honor of representing VOSH at the World Council of Optometry (WCO) meeting on September 11-13, 2017 in Hyderabad, India. The World Council of Optometry represents optometrist throughout the world and advocates for the advancement of the profession. It’s always educational to me to interact with other organizations that represent optometry on a global basis, especially in developing countries where optometry clinics may be scarce, schools of optometry may not exist, or optometry is not recognized as a profession. The WCO meeting offered a wide variety of excellent continuing education classes. Doctor Matchinski and I presented a course titled “Evaluation and Management of pediatric patients with visual impairment and pediatric patients with special needs” and also a Poster on the progress of our VOSH Corps program. One highlight of the trip was when our VOSH Philippine Chapter saw on Facebook that we were attending the meeting and found us in the exhibit hall to say hello. It’s always a pleasure visiting with our chapters, especially those international ones that we rarely have a chance to connect with personally.  After the meeting, Dr. Matchinski spent two days lecturing at the LV Prasad Eye Institute symposium to optometrist from many different countries. Thanks to Dr. Vijaya Gothwal and her co-workers for touring me through their state of the art facility. I look forward to seeing you at the VOSH Annual Meeting in Chicago on Saturday, October 14, where our theme “Winning Together” reflects my belief in our strength in...

Hurricane Harvey: Vision Assistance

Like so many others, ​I ​have been watching the devastation unfold in Texas and Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In addition to personal accounts from family in the area, social media platforms such as Facebook have provided us all a personal glimpse into the lives of people that have had to evacuate their homes, lost their business, cars, the list goes on and on.  VOSH stands for Volunteer Optometric Services to HUMANITY. There’s many definitions of humanity, but I like this one from Merriam-Webster “the quality or state of being kind to other people or animals”. VOSHer’s volunteer their time and talents because we care and get so much by giving of ourselves.   Vision related injuries, including broken or lost glasses​, are often the product of such disasters.  The severity of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath call us once again to respond in desperate times. If you want to help with the recovery effort or know people affected by Hurricane Harvey, there’s a few sources to which we can guide you: Remote Area Medical (RAM) will be launching a mission to the affected area in the coming weeks. They are looking for medical and veterinary volunteers to help them in this cause. Go to http://ramusa.org/disaster-relief/ to find out more. The Eye Center of Houston, Vision Source has partnered with VSP and EyeMed Vision and plans to offer FREE Eye Exams and Glasses for First Responders or ANY disaster victims who have lost or damaged their glasses. If you have VSP or EyeMed, schedule your FREE exam today 713-777-2020. If you don’t have VSP or EyeMed, contact your local...

SALUS University MPH Certificate Program

Are you looking for a good foundation upon which to build for your VOSH experiences?  Salus University offers on-line courses that provide VOSH members the necessary knowledge to help build sustainable health systems around the world. The certificate program is 15 semester hours, divided among six selected courses form the Master of Public Health program:  three elective courses in the areas of humanitarian and refugee health, health and human rights, and global health and leadership. There are three core courses in the areas of health policy, epidemiology, and program implementation and evaluation.  Each course will provide students with an opportunity to apply new knowledge and skills to humanitarian problems. To learn more, visit...

VOSH/INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATES WITH SALUS UNIVERSITY IN OFFERING SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR A MASTER OF PUBLIC HEALTH DEGREE PROGRAM FOR VOSH CORPS OPTOMETRISTS

VOSH/International is pleased to announce that it is collaborating with Salus University to offer VOSH Corps optometrists scholarship opportunities for earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree while on their international placement. making its first placement in the newly established VOSH Corps program. The MPH degree is designed for future international optometric leaders with advanced knowledge and skills in developing and implementing sustainable vision programs worldwide. The program includes courses and projects such as cost-effectiveness analysis, humanitarian and refugee health, program implementation and evaluation, human rights, global health and leadership, and health policy. The program is delivered online with real world application through a capstone project adaptable to the VOSH placement. Dr. Justin Manning, the first VOSH Corp placement, is currently enrolled in the MPH while serving on the faculty of the optometry school at UNAN-Managua, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua. The school has 124 optometry students who will be prepared to serve the unmet needs of communities throughout the country. The goal of VOSH Corps is to build optometric education worldwide. VOSH Corps is in collaboration with the Brien Holden Vision Institute and is supported by Optometry Giving Sight.  Modeled after the Peace Corps program, graduates from North American optometry schools are recruited to serve in emerging optometric institutions around the world as faculty and program development assistants.  When asked about his reasons for applying to VOSH Corps and his future plans, Dr. Manning said, “During my first Student VOSH trip (to Nicaragua of all places), I thought to myself, if there was any way I could make a living doing this, I would do it in...

President’s Insight: One Week Teaching Opportunity!

One week teaching opportunity! VOSH is pleased to be a partner with the Asociacion Latinoamericana de Optometras y Opticos– ALDOO to collaborate with schools of optometry in Latin America.  ALDOO wants to encourage the schools to join and collaborate with VOSH.   One initiative from the VOSH-ALDOO collaboration is to find Optometric Educators in the US and other countries to volunteer to do one full week of lectures/workshops at the schools that form SVOSH chapters in Latin America.  We have had a few of these collaborations this past year that that have had excellent success. Several Latin American schools have expressed interest in this program. The main areas of need of several schools that ALDOO has queried are Low Vision and pediatrics.  However, we anticipate anterior Segment, contact lenses, and disease will be very helpful in the future also.  A one week course may be designed as ~ 12 hours of lecture (mornings) and four 3-hour workshops (afternoons).  Since this is a new program, we are very flexible on dates, just mindful of when it would be feasible for the volunteers.  The local schools provide room and board of the guest lecturer, as well as providing an interpreter, if needed.  If interested, please contact VOSH Director Marcela Frazier, OD, MPH, FAAO at mgfrazier@uabmc.edu...