Providing Vision To Those In Need Spans the Decades

Since 1970, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) has led the history of providing professional volunteer eyecare all over the world for those most in need.  From humble beginnings VOSH International has grown to more than eighty chapters around the world.

HISTORY STILL BEING MADE

  • 1970  Dr. Franklin Harms began building a VOSH Organization in Kansas
  • 1972  The name “Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity” was adopted by an organization committee of the Kansas Optometric Foundation.
  • 1972  The first VOSH-Kansas project “Fly In” provided eye care to Montemorelos, Mexico.
  • 1979  VOSH/International was incorporated in the State of Indiana, registered by Secretary Dr. Walter Marshall.
  • 1984 The first Student VOSH Chapter was formed: SVOSH-NECO: New England College of Optometry
  • 1992  The Eyeglass Neutralization Site was established at the State Prison in Taylorville, IL, overseen by Dianne Johnson.
  • 1993  Dr. David Krasnow (VOSH-California) initiated our first sustainable eye care program FUDEM in El Salvador that remains today.
  • 1996  VOSH first grew beyond U.S. borders with formation of VOSH-British Columbia, Canada, led by Dr. Marina Roma-March. (The second chapter was VOSH-Honduras)
  • 2000  VOSH’s first international research on global myopia was conducted by Dr. Larry Hookway (VOSH-Ohio).
  • 2002  VOSH/International became a member of the World Council of Optometry.
  • 2002  VOSH/INTERNATIONAL signed as a participant in “Vision 20/20 —The Right to Sight”, an unprecedented effort by the World Health Organization (WHO) to end preventable blindness around the world by the year 2020.
  • 2003  A long-term partnership with The Brien Holden Vision Institute and Optometry Giving Sight was established.
  • 2006  The “Fellow of VOSH/International” (FVI) program was created to build a cadre of expertise in delivering global eyecare. The “Franklin Harms Society” was formed to recognize those participating in 10 eyecare missions.
  • 2006  VOSH formed the “Technical Transfer Program” (TTP) to provide clinics with examination equipment worldwide.
  • 2009 VOSH/International and VOSH-CA established the Provision Clinic in Managua, Nicaragua (using a grant from Walman Optical); the clinic instruments and supplies were moved to Clinica Verde in 2016 which operates there presently.
  • VOSH/International sponsored the first annual Vision Forum in Managua, Nicaragua, advocating for the development of the first five-year college of optometry in Nicaragua at UNAN. UNAN opened in 2012 and has graduated three classes of optometrists (58 optometrists to date) with the help of Dr. Justin Manning and Dr. Ben Konig as VOSH Corps instructors.
  • 2011  The “VOSH Corps” is formed to endow optometric educators in developing school programs,
  • 2012  VOSH played a leading role in developing an optometry school at the National Autonomous University in Managua, Nicaragua (UNAN) through curricular development, funding, technology transfer, and funding ODs Dr.Justin Manning and Dr. Ben Konig to serve as faculty through its VOSH Corps initiative. The first graduating class graduated in 2016, some of whom will become the educators for the next classes, building vital eye care capacity in-country.
  • 2013  The Student VOSH Internship Program was established
  • 2016  VOSH begins formation a new Optometry School in Port au Prince, Haiti, with the initiative of Dr. David McPhillips supported by other related organizations.
  • 2016  VOSH establishes support to the optometric teaching program aimed at educating local optometrists at the Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, led by retired ODs, Drs. Kim and Bob Molter.
  • 2018  VOSH establishes an Ambassador and Mentoring Program to encourage collaboration between international VOSH chapters
  • 2018  The Student VOSH Fellowship Program was established.
  • 2018  VOSH Historical Society established. Publication of “Bringing the World into Focus – a History of VOSH” by Dr. Michel Listenberger, OD, FVI (Author House Publisher).
  • 2019  VOSH establishes a Student VOSH Chapter in every school of optometry in North America, as well as many in Mexico and other locations.
  • 2019  VOSH focuses on building and supporting sustainable projects, including, schools, clinics collaborating with local optometrists and health care providers and providing new and continuing education.
  • 2019  VOSH has over 80 chapters, serving over 1 million number of patients worldwide.

Extracted, in part, from “Bringing the World into Focus – a History of VOSH”  by Michel Listenberger, OD, FVI (Author House Publisher)

GIVE THE GIFT OF VISION

VOSH’S MISSION

VOSH/International believes in the freedom to see.

We provide the gift of vision and quality eye health to people worldwide.

We facilitate the provision and the sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who can neither afford nor obtain such care.

Our goal is to increase our global impact whenever possible by supporting sustainable eye clinics, optometry schools and optometric educators in areas lacking sufficient eye care.

There are over 80 VOSH regional, state and school chapters worldwide working to accomplish our goals.

Join The Movement

Visual impairment is a major global health issue; the preventable causes are as high as 80% of the total global burden.

Your donation to VOSH helps restore sight to an individual through prescription glasses, medical treatment of glaucoma or other issues. VOSH partners with organizations which work alongside VOSH to provide cataract surgeries.

With restored vision, individuals can return to school or work. Adults are able contribute to the household and no longer require extra care. And children can refocus in school.

At VOSH/International, we’re committed to supporting sustainable eye care. That’s why our members support clinics and hospitals and the people who work in them.

VOSH/International has helped restore sight to more than 1,000,000 individuals around the world.