Meet This Year's VOSH/International Award Recipients

The DR. HARRY I. ZELTZER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is presented at the V/I Annual Meeting to a person recognized as an exemplary humanitarian by providing a lifetime of service to humanity through improving visual welfare through leadership, dedication, invention, public health, developing sustainable eye care and furthering the understanding and correction of refractive error. (To learn more about the eponymous Dr. Zeltzer, please click here.) This award is not an annual award but is awarded at the discretion of the V/I Board of Directors. The recipient of this award is recognized as one who meets the highest criteria that exemplifies the spirit of VOSH/International. http://vosh.org/about-us/awards/

The HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD is presented at the V/I Annual Meeting to honor an individual who has distinguished him or herself during the year by bringing eye care to underserved populations. The award recognizes a VOSH member who, during the year, has improved visual welfare through leadership, invention, public health, the development of sustainable eye care and the further understanding and correction of refractive error. http://vosh.org/humanitarian-of-the-year-award/

The Franklin Harms Society: VOSH participants have volunteered thousands of hours of service to the vision care of the unfortunate. To honor those who have aided those missions, VOSH/International has created The Franklin Harms Society, named after its Founder, Franklin Harms. This honor recognizes those optometrists, volunteers and others who have served on 10 or more domestic or foreign VOSH mission trips. https://vosh.org/get-involved/franklin-harms-society/

No members found

Updated COVID-19 and VOSH Humanitarian Clinics Advice

VOSH/International recently consulted its US and International Chapters about the feasibility and timing to restart our humanitarian clinics. While the vaccination process continues with different levels of success depending on availability and acceptance, it is evident that vaccine inequity and the availability and reliability of data in several countries are issues we need to consider.

Even if already vaccinated and boosted, our chapters are still concerned about the wellbeing of our volunteers and patients.  Some chapters, are organizing clinics locally where they are better able to comply with the existing safety requirements and respective state/country regulations.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its variants are being experienced quite differently depending on state, region, country, vaccine availability, vaccine acceptance, and the spread of SARS-COV-2 variants. Most VOSH chapters are not holding clinics or traveling internationally in 2021 or 2022.

If a VOSH Chapter choses to hold a clinic or travel internationally, we highly recommend that the chapter performs due diligence to comply fully with the requirements established by the visited country, ensures all VOSH volunteers are aware of and follow strict safety guidelines and all existing protocols and regulations of the country, and keeps the principle of “do no harm” embedded in all its decision making. As always, the wellbeing and safety for VOSH volunteers and our patients is of utmost importance and central to any decision-making process. We have published our updated clinic guidelines with best practices to be observed in this new context. VOSH chapters in specific countries are using protocols that need to be considered as well. You can download VOSH/International clinic guidelines here.

*VOSH/International is formed by autonomous US and international chapters that are fully and only responsible for their activities, fundraising and decision-making.  VOSH/International can only provide recommendations based on our best knowledge and information at the time.

Also please keep checking the following sites with official and most recent updates:

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

US CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/when-to-delay-travel.html

US Government Travel Advise: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to improving vision and eye health throughout the world.

Michael Ciszek, OD, dipl ABO, FVI

President, VOSH/International

December 2021