VOSH had a wonderful mixer with optometry students last June during Optometry’s AOA meeting, and the enthusiasm and excitement from the interaction has snowballed. We are a volunteer board, and there’s so much potential for development, only held back by the time commitment. At this mixer, we had several optometry students come up and ask how they could be more involved with the VOSH organization. From that initial encounter, we have had students helping us update our website, post pertinent information on our social media pages, organize our photos, send out email blasts, and help in so many other useful ways.

As president, I have prioritized our outreach to SVOSH students. The VOSH board has developed an informational power point presentation and committed to a board or committee member visiting each of the optometry schools to meet with the SVOSH chapters and school administration to further educate the students and schools about the opportunities VOSH provides. Looking forward, we plan to continue this involvement with new optometry students yearly. Hopefully this outreach and involvement while students are in school will help us retain them as they graduate and go off in their optometry career.

Ellen L. Weiss, OD, FVI, President

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