Working with SVOSH Chapters

Student VOSH chapters are present at almost every optometry school. They are engaged and energic, looking for ways to provide VOSH services, just like VOSH Chapters. It is ideal for VOSH Chapters to develop a relationship with their local SVOSH chapter.

Some ways to connect:

  • If you live in a state where there is an optometry school, connect with the SVOSH chapter
  • Look to connect to a nearby optometry school, even if not in the same state
  • Connect with the SVOSH faculty advisor at your nearby optometry school
  • Sponsor events with local SVOSH club
    • Pizza party with a presentation of your VOSH Chapter activities, clinic trips
    • Donate to the SVOSH chapter to support their activities
  • Work with local SVOSH chapter on World Sight Day (WSD) activities. WSD is an annual event to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. WSD is held on the second Thursday of October and this year it will be on October 11th.
  • Make it easier for students to participate
    • Find out from the SVOSH chapter when their school breaks are, it is easier for students to participate in trips during academic breaks. Take a look at the SVOSH calendar of breaks: http://vosh.org/chapters/student-vosh-calendar-of-breaks/
    • Avoid the month of March (and a few months leading up to March) due to National Boards part 1.
    • Many SVOSH students that participate go during their 3rd year and during their 3rd year is when they are preparing for and taking National Boards part 1.
  • Attend VOSH midyear or annual meetings to meet up with students
  • Connect with VOSH/International Board of Directors SVOSH liaison Dr. Michael Ciszek, ciszek@vosh.org.
  • If you have ideas of how to involve an SVOSH chapter, let us know atciszek@VOSH.org

If you have never had optometry students on your trip, please consider it. SVOSHers add incredible value, enthusiasm and excitement to VOSH clinic trips. They are also the future of VOSH.

 

Tracy Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI

President VOSH/International

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