Dr. Ellis Potter awarded honorary degree for distinguished service, and delivered commencement address to Class of 2018 of Southern College of Optometry. 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 29, 2018) – Dr. C. Ellis Potter, a 1967 graduate of Southern College of Optometry – where he earned his Doctor of Optometry degree – and a longtime optometrist in Iola, Kansas, recently delivered the commencement address at his alma mater and accepted the college’s Doctor of Ocular Sciences honorary degree.

            “When considering commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, we strive to select someone our graduates can be proud of as a representative of their profession,” said Dr. Lewis Reich, president of SCO. “Dr. Potter’s record speaks for itself. He has a long history of service, which we hope to instill in our graduates as they move on to serve communities across the United States and the world.”

            Potter previously earned a number of awards for his global service initiatives. In 2017, he earned the American Academy of Optometry’s Brien Holden Humanitarian Award, which recognizes significant contributions to improve eye care within a country or region, particularly humanitarian efforts in the nonprofit sector that build or support the development of sustainable eye care systems in developing communities. He also earned the VOSH International Dr. Harry I. Zelter Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017, which recognizes exemplary humanitarians who have provided a lifetime of service by improving visual welfare through leadership, dedication, invention, public health, developing sustainable eye care, and furthering the understanding and correction of refractive error.

            In addition to his global service, Potter has served on numerous committees for the Kansas Optometric Association. He also served as editor of the organization’s Kansas Optometric Journal. He is active in the Rotary Club and is a member of the Rotary Action Group for Avoidable Blindness. In 2008, he joined with other Rotarians to form the Vision Quest International Foundation, which aims to educate the public about and alleviate refractive error blindness and which he previously led as president. Potter is now retired from private practice in Iola.

Southern College of Optometry’s board of trustees bestows the honorary Doctor of Ocular Sciences degree upon individuals who have rendered distinguished service of the profession of optometry and/or the field of vision science.

Congratulations Dr. Potter!

Updated COVID-19 and VOSH Humanitarian Clinics Advice

Due to an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections, a new variant that is more contagious, and these being early days in the vaccination distribution, VOSH/International DOES NOT recommend that chapters participate in domestic or international eye and vision clinics at this time.

We reiterate that at a time when the coronavirus continues to spread quickly in many parts of the world and vaccinations are not yet available to local populations, the risk of close contact with patients in a crowded outpatient environment remains high.

If a VOSH Chapter or VOSH volunteer chooses to hold a clinic against our best guidance, this is done at your own risk, by your own decision and should be in line with current local/national government rules.  VOSH/International would like to reiterate that 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.  You can download VOSH/International clinic guidelines here

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

World Health Organisation: 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 patience in these unprecedented times, hard work and dedication to improving vision and eye health throughout the world.

John Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD, FAAO, FVI

President, VOSH/International

January 2021