Optometry Australia works at a number of levels to ensure the eye health of future generations.
Optometry Australia’s activities to support and promote eye health and highlight the contribution of optometry extend through a number of levels. Within the profession, the organisation’s national Board has welcomed the establishment of state-led member groups to champion the needs of early career optometrists. These groups met nationally for the first time in November 2016. Their leaders have made some important recommendations about the future of the profession, a document warmly received by Optometry Australia, and one which will ensure that our vision is incorporating the aspirations of early career practitioners. Optometry Australia will work with our state member organisations to support this aim, and national President Andrew Hogan congratulated the young practitioners on their initiative and passion for their chosen health profession.
On the national scene, we welcomed the announcement that three years of ongoing federal government funding has been secured for the Visiting Optometrists Scheme (VOS). We have been strong advocates for, and supporters of, the VOS outreach program, to which so many of our members contribute by providing vital comprehensive primary care in communities across Australia. It is great to have its importance recognised in this way. Underpinning this commitment, we were proud that president Andrew Hogan was able to contribute his signature on our organisation’s behalf to a national Statement of Intent to close the health gap for indigenous people. This initiative is sponsored by Indigenous Allied Health Australia and Allied Health Professions Australia.
Four new videos developed as part of our consumer awareness Good Vision For Life campaign are generating high levels of consumer engagement. A children’s vision themed video has been particularly popular, attracting over 70,000 views in one month. As part of a national initiative to promote the important contribution of optometry primary eye care to GPs, an online video component through the GP education site ThinkGP discusses the role of optometry in diabetes eye care. This video was viewed over 400 views in its initial weeks.
*Kirsty Machon is the Acting CEO of Optometry Australia
WAVE is almost here and, following on from last year’s success, will again take place at the Rendezvous Hotel in Scarborough from 12 – 13 August.
On the program are optometrists Mark Koszek, Adrian Bell, and Amira Howari and making his WAVE debut, WA ophthalmologist Dr. Chandra Bala among others.
The Friday afternoon lecture program targeting OWA’s Early Career Optometrists (OWAGG’s) will include sessions on how to adapt your practice to survive in a competitive environment, and ‘How to be your own boss’ – a repeat of the highly successful presentations recently offered to Victorian optometrists by OA’s Advantage Partner, Optometry Finance Australia. Other prominent optometry WAVE speakers will also be presenting on the day’s programme, adding not only access to great content but individuals not normally available in WA.
A new and exciting initiative to this year’s WAVE education line-up will be a dedicated practice staff education program. A variety of topics will include advice on marketing and social media, leadership and communication, dispensing and strategies to differentiate and customise your practice for competitive success. Members are encouraged to send as many of their practice staff along as possible for this practical, educational program.
We’re really excited about WAVE – be sure to set aside the dates and keep an eye out for the full WAVE program.
Aside from WAVE, OWA continues to provide plenty of opportunities for optometrists of all ages and experience to gain their CPD points.
Following on from an Optometry Australia National forum held late in 2016, the Association has continued its work to further unify graduate members nationally under the single brand and identity as Early Career Optometrists. The ECO group brand will do away with the individual current state names. This will not only improve the support and coordination of the collective efforts of each OA state division but will also better meet the needs of our future leaders of the profession.