President’s Insight

Our Children’s Vision Partners Meeting

I had the opportunity to attend the Our Children’s Vision Partners Meeting on February 5th and 6th, 2018 in Chilaw, Sri Lanka.  Our Children’s Vision is a global effort lead by Brien Holden Vision Institute and has 73 partner organizations, one of which is VOSH/International.  Attending the meeting were 50 participants representing 25 of the partner organizations.  This is a powerful initiative by the Brien Holden Vision Institute with the purpose “to upscale, accelerate and expand access to eye health services to more children in more locations”.  To date, this program has screened 18 million children with the goal of providing services to 50 million children by 2020. They have developed guidelines and work towards sustainable system change.  Mechanisms of this campaign include:

  • Powerful partnerships
  • Child eye Health services
  • Driving awareness
  • Local knowledge
  • Support for services

Our Children’s Vision is leading this call to action by:

  • Advocacy for changes to policy, practice and financing
  • Health education and promotion
  • Research
  • Practioner and Health Worker education
  • Harness Technology driven solutions
  • Disability Inclusiveness
  • Alignment with child health, welfare and development policies, the SDGs and the GAP

Creating access to eyecare will enable children to access education and ensure best quality of life.  Children should not be hindered in their education because of a vision problem.  Children’s eye health must be part of children’s health and education and integrated into local health policies.  Our Children’s Vision is bringing all partners together for global development and consolidated efforts to drive sustainable change.  You can find out more information about this campaign and lend your support at

Ok, so now it’s been about a month since you have made those New Year’s resolutions.  How is that going for you?

So, what is a resolution anyway?  It can be defined as a firm decision to do (or not do) something, the action of solving a problem or contentious matter and the quality of being resolute or determined.  VOSH/International continues to be resolute in pursuing its goal of facilitating the provision and sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who can neither afford or obtain such care.  V/I is doing many wonderful things to provide care and promote optometry.    

As I step into the Presidency of VOSH/International,  and review my NY’s resolutions for VOSH, my Presidential goals are my resolutions for VOSH/International during my term.  I would like to focus on the following Presidential Goals:

  1. Promote and strengthening the work of VOSH Chapters within our own communities.  International trips are important, but happen 1-2x/year for a chapter.  What else can VOSH be doing?  With the challenges of healthcare, it is an unfortunate reality, that even in our own communities, people need help.
  • Develop resource center for chapters:  Essilor Vision Foundation for lenses, frame donations, good Samaritan law to protect volunteer doctors, exam and wavier forms, sources for reading glasses, sunglasses, collaboration with SEE for local cataract surgery
  1. Continue to inspire optometry students to be involved with VOSH after their graduation.  There are many volunteer organizations, but VOSH is uniquely optometry.  It is the grassroots optometric volunteer organization. 
  • Work to make VOSH clinic trips more recognized as valuable experiences for students, work with optometry schools and encourage students to participate.
  1. For international clinic trips, continue to make our work more meaningful by working within the continuum of sustainability.  Some ways to do this are partnering with local optometry and optometry schools, skills transfer and data collection.
  • Continue to partner with local optometry and optometry schools.  Increase VOSH Chapter awareness of and interaction with local optometry and optometry schools. V/I is doing many wonderful things to provide care and promote optometry. 

Let’s get to work and make this new year a great one!

A Message to all VOSH and SVOSH Chapters

As 2018 begins, we would like to let you know what VOSH/International® (V/I) is doing for you and your VOSH chapter. Did you know there are now 81 VOSH Chapters ​including ​35 State​, Regional ​or Global ​Chapters and 46 Student-VOSH Chapters? Truly, ​VOSH Chapters are the essence of the VOSH family. 

In the past few years, under the presidency of Ellen Weiss, OD, FVI, and V/I Board member Michael Ciszek, OD, Chair of the V/I Student VOSH Committee, V/I focused on improving communications and relationships with all 46 Student VOSH chapters. That included a new network of communication which easily links all SVOSH chapters, 2 SVOSH Presidents symposiums, sponsored by National Vision, Inc, increased participation of SVOSH interns, the development of a highly anticipated Student VOSH Fellowship Program, an SVOSH Members only page on the VOSH website, and more. Did you know that the students want to go on your trips? It is amazing what can be accomplished by passionate volunteers. But then again, that is the beauty of VOSH, isn’t it?

This year, I have made VOSH chapter services and domestic, local VOSH efforts priorities of my term as V/I President. This means that 2018 will be a year in which you will see a lot of benefits and changes to help your chapter communicate and operate even better. VOSH is here to help you!

Here are a few highlights of what is newly available to your chapters, as well as what will be developed as the year unfolds​:​

New Clinic Form Streamlines Missions/Clinics and Eases Essential Data Collection. ​

The most exciting new development is that V/I has developed a universal form to be used by all chapters during their clinics. The development of this form has gone through many renditions to achieve the best form. VOSH knows that data collection is the key to obtaining funding (which will be used, in part, to assist chapter development). Data collection is also important to validate what VOSH is doing, the importance of our work.  Board member Bob Stein and NVI provided the funding and knowledge to create a universal form which captures the data needed during clinic trips, and then later sent to NVI to capture the data. This is an invaluable way to capture optometric mission data to enhance the global fight against uncorrected refractive error & preventable ocular disease. This data will be shared with you and will be used by V/I and national organizations, such as IAPB, WCO and others, to improve humanitarian eye care delivery. You can use this data to anticipate the type of eye care issues will be treating, and apply for your own funding as well. Take a look here to access this new form and an instruction power point to learn all about it Please start using this on your next mission trip. We know there will be questions! So please ask us: or


​Chapter Relations Initiatives. ​

John Larcabal, V/I Board member and chair of the VOSH Chapters Committee is very active these days! Here are a few more things John is doing to help your chapter:

  •  John hosts a bimonthly conference call for all chapters. This is your opportunity to share and discuss challenges and solutions, question and learn. The next Chapter Call will be on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, 8 pm Central (VOSH conference call-in numbers: USA and Canada: (515) 604-9602, Access code: 565275#). This call will feature Kim Schuy from the Essilor Vision Foundation, discussing their various programs including providing free frames and lenses.  
  • John has established an Equipment Loan program for you to access for your mission trips. See And remember, the V/I Technology Transfer Program can supply you with other equipment, frames and more. See
  • Implementing new communication system with VOSH chapters, embracing “VOSH-name of your” so that even if your leadership changes you can still be connected with VOSH. 
  • In 2017, at the request of the SVOSH chapters, V/I developed a “Members Only” page on the VOSH website. V/I plans on implementing that for VOSH chapters too, so that all the forms, waivers, applications for readers and frames, as well as a chapter – driven blog will be contained in there. More coming your way on that soon.
  • We are developing updated Chapter Protocols. John is developing universal Bylaws, Waiver Documents, a Universal Membership form, and we have a VOSH logo for everyone of the 81 VOSH chapters. This will all be on the Members only page soon, but, in the meantime, ask us. 
  • Nominate your chapter as a Chapter of the Month!
  • John can be reached at
​Funding Opportunity. ​

Did you know that if your chapter collaborates with a non-US or Canadian SVOSH chapter, you can receive funding? See the VOSH-SVOSH Mentorship Program (now known as MOVE: Motivating Others to VOSH Excellence): 

V/I is planning a VOSH Presidents’ Symposium in Denver during the AOA Meetings in June. Watch for an email inviting one of your leadership members to attend this symposium. We did this with the SVOSH chapter presidents in 2017, and so many amazing ideas and successful programs came out of that symposium. We want to do the same for you. Pencil that meeting in tentatively on June 23, 2018 in Denver CO and we will send you more information separately. 


Streamlining mission/clinic travel.

V/I has developed a new relationship with ProTravel embracing a universal booking method ​that​ reduces travel costs while increasing convenience. Several chapters have started using their travel services and have been please​d​ with the outcome. There are many benefits to using ProTravel for your VOSH Travel needs, only some of which are listed below. Note that ProTravel does charge a fee (reduced for VOSH volunteers and VOSH receives a $5 rebate, which will be set aside for chapter- related programs. You will be receiving information from ProTravel to encourage you to register in advance of your trips. 

  • Clinic planners will have all traveler data consolidated by receiving flight manifests for all volunteers
  • Risk Management – VOSH has a vested interest in the well being of our volunteers while traveling for clinics.  ProTravel monitors global travel alerts and will notify travel planners of any applicable threats while traveling.
  • By each volunteer booking through the same travel agent, clinic planners are able to save time and energy coordinating travelers arriving together to customs in the receiving city for the equipment inventory process
  • Service Recovery, in the occurrence of flight delays, weather delays or any travel disruptions, ProTravel can assist in recovery to get VOSH travelers to their destinations rather than being at the mercy of the airlines.
  • Contact the VOSH dedicated agent, Jeffrey Olinghouse at

AND there is so much more for you and your chapter.


​We need your ideas and continuing involvement to meet the challenges of the global eye care crisis. 

Join us. Here are the immediate possibilities:
In 2018, there’ll be several positions open on the VOSH/International® Board of Directors. If you or someone you know wants to be part of this pro-active board, please let us know: . Here who is on the board now:
Please consider attending the next VOSH Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada on October 12-14, 2018! This year it will be hosted by one of the most active VOSH Chapters, VOSH-Santa Cruz (Montreal). It promises to be more chapter-centric this year, with a major focus on what VOSH chapters want and how to accomplish that. Encourage all your members to come! See
Take a look at the VOSH website. There is a lot of information on there!

Thank you for continuing to provide free, quality eye care to those in need. VOSH is comprised of passionate, dedicated people like yourself. 
Please pass this on to all your chapter members. We are here to answer your questions and receive your suggestions.