Attending an optometry continuing education meeting any time soon?  VOSH exhibits yearly at the Heart of America Congress, SECO, Vision Source, AOA, Vision Expo West, Academy and various other meetings. If you’re in the exhibit hall, we’d love to have you stop by and say hello. We’re always looking for volunteers to staff the various exhibit halls, so please shoot me an email if this interests you.

Why does VOSH exhibit? One reason is visibility. Our webpage is user friendly and full of great information, but there’s a personal connection when we can visit one on one as we swap stories. It’s always nice when people stop by and comment how they went on a trip as s student, and their life is now to the point where they want to again become involved. VOSH visibility is also important to other vendors. Companies know what VOSH is about, and we’ve built great connections and resources in the exhibit halls visiting with the other vendors.

Another reason to exhibit is to increase membership. It’s an effective recruitment tool for local chapters to work the booth space when a meeting is in their region. What will you find at our VOSH booth? We have a variety of one page flyers that allow people to gather information and read about what is relevant to them. These may include local chapter information, clinic opportunities, and information on our TTP program, VOSH Corps, and annual meeting.  So the next time you’re at a meeting, take a few minutes to stop by a visit.

SAVE THE DATE: The 2016 VOSH/International Annual Meeting will be in Anaheim, California, Sunday, November 13, 2016, following the AAO meetings. Check this page for  details. We hope to see you there!

Ellen L. Weiss, OD, FVI, President

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