VOSH Int’l Welcomes Worldwide Chapters and Honors Three at Annual Meeting


Jordan Kassalow, OD, (c) founder of VisionSpring, receiving the VOSH Humanitarian Award.

MONTREAL— From the roll call of its 84 chapters worldwide, to presentations and exchanges of humanitarian endeavors, heartfelt stories, latest information, and opportunities, the VOSH International annual meeting held here earlier this month brought together attendees with a passion for facing the challenges of global eyecare. More than one third of the world’s population suffers from impaired vision or functional blindness; many, mostly in developing countries, lacking the resources or access to eyecare or glasses. VOSH is the largest, all-volunteer nonprofit optometric humanitarian and volunteer organization. The VOSH Chapter in Santa Cruz, Quebec, hosted this year’s annual meeting.

Highlights of the VOSH annual meeting included presentations of outreach efforts by Essilor Foundation’s new initiative, “Changing Lives Through Lenses,” providing support for domestic communities and plans similar international support. VOSH-India president Yogita Rajanghi spoke about the impact on the Current State of Optical Care in India. Vicki Weiss, president of VOSH-Virginia, spoke about VOSH Collaboration domestically while, Luigi Bilotto of the Brien Holden Vision Institute cited the meeting’s theme “United VOSH” for sustainable health. A panel on collaboration with Opthamology discussion was led by Dr. Asa Morton on behalf of HELPS and Surgical Eyecare Expeditions (SEE).

(L) Dr. Bud Falkenhaim received the Lifetime Achievement award. Natalie Venezia, exiting executive director, VOSH International, received the President Circle Award.

Major awards included the Humanitarian of the Year to VisionSpring founder Jordan Kassalow, OD for his dedication and many initiatives to alleviate those suffering from impaired vision.

The Harry I. Zeltzer Lifetime Achievement Award went to Dr Bud Falkenheim of VOSH-Missouri for his 40+ years of humanitarian service and helping form the framework that has propelled VOSH through its chapters and programs to be serve millions through the years.

Frequently the voice of VOSH/International, Natalie Venezia, exiting executive director of VOSH/International received the President's Circle Award marking her five years as executive director. Her organizing abilities saw a plethora of VOSH initiatives including sustainability efforts, information exchanges, branding as well as social media and website development, all of which made VOSH increasingly visible internationally as an active force for humanitarian eyecare.

Student VOSH Chapter Illinois College of Optometry was announced as the winner of the SVOSH Video Contest. Other exceptional student videos were screened and panels of both VOSH and SVOSH chapters underscored their many activities and humanitarian contributions. As former Optometry Giving Sight CEO Clive Miller said in a video from Sydney, Australia, the VOSH Annual meetings are “must attend”events.

With the theme “BIG Vision: small world”, next year’s VOSH Annual Meeting will be held Oct. 27, 2019 in Orlando Florida. For more details visit VOSH.org.