Providing Vision To Those In Need Spans the Decades
HISTORY STILL BEING MADE
- 1970 Dr. Franklin Harms began building a VOSH Organization in Kansas
- 1972 The name “Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity” was adopted by an organization committee of the Kansas Optometric Foundation.
- 1972 The first VOSH-Kansas project “Fly In” provided eye care to Montemorelos, Mexico.
- 1979 VOSH/International was incorporated in the State of Indiana, registered by Secretary Dr. Walter Marshall.
- 1984 The first Student VOSH Chapter was formed: SVOSH-NECO: New England College of Optometry
- 1992 The Eyeglass Neutralization Site was established at the State Prison in Taylorville, IL, overseen by Dianne Johnson.
- 1993 Dr. David Krasnow (VOSH-California) initiated our first sustainable eye care program FUDEM in El Salvador that remains today.
- 1996 VOSH first grew beyond U.S. borders with formation of VOSH-British Columbia, Canada, led by Dr. Marina Roma-March. (The second chapter was VOSH-Honduras)
- 2000 VOSH’s first international research on global myopia was conducted by Dr. Larry Hookway (VOSH-Ohio).
- 2002 VOSH/International became a member of the World Council of Optometry.
- 2002 VOSH/INTERNATIONAL signed as a participant in “Vision 20/20 —The Right to Sight”, an unprecedented effort by the World Health Organization (WHO) to end preventable blindness around the world by the year 2020.
- 2003 A long-term partnership with The Brien Holden Vision Institute and Optometry Giving Sight was established.
- 2006 The “Fellow of VOSH/International” (FVI) program was created to build a cadre of expertise in delivering global eyecare. The “Franklin Harms Society” was formed to recognize those participating in 10 eyecare missions.
- 2006 VOSH formed the “Technical Transfer Program” (TTP) to provide clinics with examination equipment worldwide.
- 2009 VOSH/International and VOSH-CA established the Provision Clinic in Managua, Nicaragua (using a grant from Walman Optical); the clinic instruments and supplies were moved to Clinica Verde in 2016 which operates there presently.
- VOSH/International sponsored the first annual Vision Forum in Managua, Nicaragua, advocating for the development of the first five-year college of optometry in Nicaragua at UNAN. UNAN opened in 2012 and has graduated three classes of optometrists (58 optometrists to date) with the help of Dr. Justin Manning and Dr. Ben Konig as VOSH Corps instructors.
- 2011 The “VOSH Corps” is formed to endow optometric educators in developing school programs,
- 2012 VOSH played a leading role in developing an optometry school at the National Autonomous University in Managua, Nicaragua (UNAN) through curricular development, funding, technology transfer, and funding ODs Dr.Justin Manning and Dr. Ben Konig to serve as faculty through its VOSH Corps initiative. The first graduating class graduated in 2016, some of whom will become the educators for the next classes, building vital eye care capacity in-country.
- 2013 The Student VOSH Internship Program was established
- 2016 VOSH begins formation a new Optometry School in Port au Prince, Haiti, with the initiative of Dr. David McPhillips supported by other related organizations.
- 2016 VOSH establishes support to the optometric teaching program aimed at educating local optometrists at the Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, led by retired ODs, Drs. Kim and Bob Molter.
- 2018 VOSH establishes an Ambassador and Mentoring Program to encourage collaboration between international VOSH chapters
- 2018 The Student VOSH Fellowship Program was established.
- 2018 VOSH Historical Society established. Publication of “Bringing the World into Focus – a History of VOSH” by Dr. Michel Listenberger, OD, FVI (Author House Publisher).
- 2019 VOSH establishes a Student VOSH Chapter in every school of optometry in North America, as well as many in Mexico and other locations.
- 2019 VOSH focuses on building and supporting sustainable projects, including, schools, clinics collaborating with local optometrists and health care providers and providing new and continuing education.
- 2019 VOSH has over 80 chapters, serving over 1 million number of patients worldwide.
Extracted, in part, from “Bringing the World into Focus – a History of VOSH” by Michel Listenberger, OD, FVI (Author House Publisher)