SVOSH-IAUPR (PUERTO RICO)
May SVOSH Chapter of the Month

An amazing level of activity pre and post hurricane Marina, this is a wonderfully active and dedicated SVOSH chapter doing amazing work. Thanks to VOSH and others in the optometric community frames destroyed in Marina were replaced with frames and glasses. Some of the chapter’s Spring highlights are included below sent in by SVOSH Chapter President Adia McDuffey Walker, OD Candidate 2020 at Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry:

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Community missions
We performed eye screenings on over 100 shoppers at the Plaza Las Americas Health Fair in San Juan, PR. Our next event was a health fair in a Santurce urbanization in need, Cano Martin Pena where we screened over 50 residents. The last community mission trip of the semester was joining forces with the Puerto Rico Special Olympics. We performed sports vision assessments on over 50 differently-abled athletes from all over the island.

Student events
After the SVOSH re-launch, we had 10 new members join. At our first meeting, one of our lucky members won a copy of Bringing the World Into Focus by Michael Listenburger, OD. Thanks to SVOSH chapters and OD’s on Facebook, SVOSH IAUPR received over 800 pairs of donated glasses. Students have started sorting these frames in preparation for our school (SVOSH/LIONS/NOSA) mission trip to Panama City, Panama next October 2018.

The highlight of our semester was guest speaker John Spencer, OD! He inspired our student body with funny stories and realistic ways that we can eradicate world blindness through VOSH International. We received lots of positive feedback from the first year students on how much they enjoyed this meeting. Dr. Spencer also met with the SVOSH and Lions Club faculty advisors. This meeting has already started to open more doors for us here.

We were off to a slow start because of the accelerated post-Maria semester. But we are looking forward to a great 2018-2019 year!

Side note: Irina Yakubin (SVOSH Secretary) and myself have really benefited from the SVOSH Conference Calls. They help us to stay motivated about the VOSH mission and feel more connected with other chapters!

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