A momentous year for VOSH-Illinois and the SVOSH-ICO chapters. Recognized for leadership and marvelous activity, VOSH-Illinois is the August 2018 Chapter of the Month, the second time it has been so recognized.
Chapter President Andrew Kohn provided the description below:
In October 2017, long-time VOSH Illinois president, Dr. Tracy Matchinski, was sworn in as the new VOSH International president. Another long-time VOSH Illinois member and board member, Dr. Sandra Bury, was selected as the VOSH International Humanitarian of the Year. We are enormously proud of both of these amazing women.
In November, VOSH Illinois sent a group to Mexico City where over 1500 patients were examined over the course of a week. Another international trip to Bolivia took place in March of 2018. Active also in local clinics, are planned for 2018 as well.
Of particular humanitarian note were local clinics for the LGBTQ community whose eye care needs are too often ignored or put on hold for many reasons. Broadway Youth Center caters to housing insecure LGBTQ youth and Howard Brown Health Center offers low cost health care to anyone but particularly serving the LGBTQ population. We examined 81 patients and accepted outside prescriptions from 8 additional patients. Almost everyone needed glasses and a total of 81 pair of glasses were made and dispensed. The need is obvious in this community as we had to turn away 70 patients and therefore we are in the initial stages of planning a second clinic.
In new elections for VOSH-Illinois, faculty members from both the Illinois College of Optometry and the Chicago College of Optometry were among the newest board members elected.
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