VOSH 27th ANNUAL MEETING 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the 2019 VOSH Annual Meeting being held on October 27, 2019 in Orlando FL. Our VOSH Annual Meeting gives the opportunity to VOSH members and partners to join in a day of learning, networking and fruitful discussions to continue bringing the gift of sight. In addition, the World Council of Optometry (WCO) and the American Academy of Optometry (Academy) also will be co-hosting the 3rd World Congress of Optometry in Orlando October 23-28, 2019 and will feature joint CE tracks.

Come and join us for a unique day where you can meet like-minded colleagues representing our wide membership in the US and abroad.

This year’s theme is “Big Vision, Small World.” Our big vision is of a world where everyone has access to eye health and vision care that is affordable, accessible and of high professional standards.  Optometry is changing and there are many ways we build bridges, we connect and reduce distances and barriers making the world smaller and easier to work within.

The program will explore the potential of telemedicine to increase impact and expand our outreach. The key elements of sustainable eye clinics and strengthening connections with local health systems plus the role of supporting optometric education through starting new schools or upgrading optometric degree programs will help us place our work in the local context we operate from.  These will be complemented with reflections on the future of global optometry and the evolution of partners’ initiatives to respond to specific patients’ needs. Lectures will be complemented by an overview of VOSH chapters’ achievements and the lessons from a journey towards sustainability and developing lasting partnerships shared by our VOSH-Southeast chapter.

During the meeting we will welcome our incoming President, J. Dan Twelker, OD and new Board members.

We would be delighted if you can join us in sunny Florida in October 27th for a memorable day of exchanges and collaboration.

Yours In VOSH,

Tracy L. Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI
President, VOSH/International

THANK YOU TO OUR MEETING SPONSORS

THANK YOU TO OUR EXHIBITORS

BIG VISION, SMALL WORLD

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WHY ATTEND THE VOSH ANNUAL MEETING?

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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, 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 is 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.

Thus, VOSH/International is slightly moderating its overall guidance against clinics and travel issued in late March 2020 and renewed in January 2021. This will be reviewed and communicated on a quarterly basis.

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 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 hard work and dedication to improving vision and eye health throughout the world.

John Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD, FAAO, FVI

President, VOSH/International

July 2021