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Optometry’s Night of Nights

Members of the optometry and associated industries recently gathered in Brisbane to celebrate the achievements of QUT graduands and the election of a new team to the board of Queensland OAA.

The annual Optometry Night of Nights (previously the Graduands Ball and Awards) was hosted by the Queensland OAA at the Stamford Plaza in Brisbane in November.

In addition to celebrating the successes of 39 QUT graduands, the event marked the election of Lindsay McGrath, and the re-election of Mr. David Bradley and Mr. Jason Holland to the board as well as the re-election of Mr. David Foresto to the board following two years absence interstate. Ms. Kate Johnson was celebrated as the new OAA President following five years’ service on the board and Ms. Kady Brandon the new Vice-President after two years’ service.

Ms. Johnson’s first official duty was to award the Hon. Bill Hayden AC Queensland Optometrist of the Year Award to the Immediate Past President, Ms. Shannon Smith in recognition of her inspirational leadership during five years in the role, and eleven years in office.

Ms. Kate Johnson became OAA President after five years’ service on the board

In her inaugural speech Ms. Johnson recognised the increasing roles that optometrists play in health care and communicated her support for the establishment of Primary Health Care Organisations. She called on new graduates to take on the challenges faced by the profession, and strive to build relationships with fellow associated professions. Ms. Johnson also welcomed the attendance of senior leaders from medicine, pharmacy, diabetes and other service organisations to the evening. Ms. Johnson also announced that she had accepted the role of OAA National Board member for Queensland, and explained that this offered her the opportunity to get involved during this important time of OAA nationalisation.

The OAA National President Mr. Andrew Harris welcomed graduates by reflecting on his own career as an optometrist as guidance to good practice. He went on to detail how a patient dying in his examination chair had taught him the valuable lesson of always striving to improve his skills! The Queensland OA CEO Greg Johnson announced the following recipients of the Alcon Therapeutics Scholarship: Mr. Matt Ison, Ms. Naomi Ison, Mr. Jim Loughridge and Ms. Claire Moyle. The scholarship awards were presented by Mr. Brian Broadbent from Alcon. Mr. Johnson hosted a silent auction throughout the evening, which, raised over AUD $1,600 for Optometry Giving Sight.

Kate Johnson is an optometrist & contact lens practitioner with Gerry and Johnson Optometrists. She is a clinical instructor and visiting lecturer at the QUT School of Optometry and President of the Optometrists Association of Australia QLD/NT Division.