Dr. Matthew & Attorney Audrey Blondin of Torrington, CT have completed their studies at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington and received their Masters of Public Health Degrees during virtual commencement activities held in Storrs on Monday, May 11th. Both Blondin’s received Certificates in Public Health in 2009 and resumed their studies in 2015. Audrey Blondin was also the recipient of the UCONN 2020 Susan S. Addiss Award in Applied Public Health Practice. This award recognizes the graduating M.P.H. student who best exemplifies the qualities of Susan Addiss: public health advocacy, leadership, demonstrated commitment to the community and academic performance. Audrey Blondin was also the recipient of the 2020 Citizen of the Law Award presented by the Connecticut Bar Association to an attorney who has made a significant contribution to a charitable or public service cause.
The Blondin’s have been active participants in VOSH for over 20 years. They began participating in VOSH missions in 1999 with VOSH-NECO in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. In 2001 they formed VOSH-Connecticut and have led yearly missions to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Over the last 20 years, they have helped to provide eye care to over 50,000 patients along with volunteer optometrists, optometry students, opticians and optical assistants, translators and many other local and resident volunteers. VOSH-Connecticut has been recognized as a VOSH Chapter of the Month and has also partnered with RAM-USA to provide eye care services to those in need in Emporia, VA in 2019.

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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