(For previous mailings of Leader Letters, see: www.icoph.org/news/leader_letter.html.)
May 2009, Volume 6, Number 5
On May 21 in Geneva, the World Health Assembly (WHA) endorsed the WHO Action Plan for the Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment. The action plan was prepared in collaboration with WHO Regional Offices, Member States and international partners - the result of a three-year effort to increase support for prevention of visual loss around the world. The action plan is available at archive.icoph.org/pdf/WHOActionPlan.pdf (PDF - 80.5 KB).
Twenty nine Member States spoke in support of the Action Plan: Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Russia, Iraq, Ethiopia, Jamaica, The People's Republic of China, Japan, Morocco, Bahrain, Venezuela, Saint Lucia, Australia, United States of America, Malaysia, Philippines, Cuba, Italy, Gambia, Myanmar, Columbia, Paraguay, Korea, Chile, Thailand, Suriname, India, Lesotho and Greece.
Special thanks are due to HRH Prince Abdulaziz Al Saud, Abdulaziz AlRajhi, MD, and the Eastern Mediterranean Region and other members of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness who were instrumental in the long process leading to the adoption of this important plan.
Before the Assembly, the ICO Advocacy Committee, lead by Hugh Taylor, AC, MD, again asked ophthalmic societies to contact their Ministers of Health and delegations to the WHA to urge them to support adoption of the Plan. I want to express our profound thanks to Hugh and the national "Advocates" for making these essential contacts.
- Bruce Spivey, MD, ICO President
I am pleased to announce the ICO Board of Directors has elected Professor Hugh Taylor, AC, MD, of Melbourne, Australia, as the new treasurer of the ICO. He was elected this month by electronic vote to fill the vacancy of the late Yasuo Tano, MD. The term expires at the 2010 World Ophthalmology Congress.
Professor Taylor has been actively involved in ophthalmic research and teaching for over 30 years. In addition to being the ICO Director for Advocacy, he is Vice President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, a Board member for Vision 2020 Australia and a member of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis. He is recognized internationally as a leader in ophthalmology and prevention of vision loss.
Hugh has management, administration and financial skills, which will be of great benefit to the ICO. He is now the Harold Mitchell Chair of Indigenous Eye Health at the Melbourne School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne after having served as a professor of ophthalmology and head of the department. Hugh also founded, and was Managing Director of, the Centre for Eye Research Australia.
I thank Hugh for his willingness to serve as ICO Treasurer and I know we all look forward to working closely with him.
- Bruce Spivey, MD, ICO President
For those of you who will be attending the European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE) Congress in Amsterdam, please join us for the ICO World Ophthalmic Roundtable on Leadership Development (WORLD) presentation and discussion on "Refocusing Ophthalmic Education" on Tuesday, June 16 from 14:30 to 16:00 at the RAI convention center. You can download the draft program for the Roundtable meeting from: archive.icoph.org/pdf/ICOWORLDSOE.pdf (PDF - 140 KB)
Dr. Stefan Seregard will present Ophthalmic Education in Europe: Current Status and New Initiatives; Dr. Eduardo Mayorga will present Adult Learning and Modern Teaching Methods; and Dr. Bruce Spivey will present Implications and Options for Ophthalmic Education. The presentations will be followed by a discussion on defining and adapting curricula worldwide, accreditation and certification, modern teaching methods, technology and more.
In addition to the ICO WORLD Roundtable, I list below a few other sessions that may interest you:
More information on the scientific program is available on the SOE Congress website: www.soe2009.org/glance.asp. We hope to see you in Amsterdam.
- Jean-Jacques De Laey, MD, ICO Secretary General
Tjahjono D. Gondhowiardjo, MD, PhD, the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) congress president, organizing committee chairman and president of the Indonesian Ophthalmologist Association welcomed over 3,300 delegates from 73 countries to the APAO/AAO joint Congress May 16 - 19 in Bali, Indonesia.
Frank J. Martin, MD, of Australia was elected President of the APAO to fill the term of the late Professor Yasuo Tano. Frank will be a wonderful leader for the APAO and we look forward to working closely with him.
In memory of Professor Tano, the APAO announced a Travel Grant to support young ophthalmologists in attending future APAO Congresses. The ICO symposium on "How to Tackle Problems in Developing Countries" was also dedicated to Professor Tano.
Awards were presented to noted ophthalmologists in recognition of their contributions:
The next APAO meeting will be in Beijing, P.R. China, September 16 to 20, 2010. The 2011 APAO Congress in Sydney follows, and will be co-sponsored and supported by the ICO.
- Dennis Lam, MD, Secretary-General APAO and Member, ICO Board of Trustees
At an early morning session on May 17 in Bali, another WORLD meeting was held to gather input on the ICO's new "Refocusing Ophthalmic Education" initiative. The ICO's WORLD program is intended to bring leaders of societies and educational institutions together to exchange ideas to enhance education and access to eye care.
Presentation topics were:
A lively discussion followed the presentations. If you were unable to attend or even if you were there, perhaps you would like to join the discussion on line at archive.icoph.org/refocus.
- William Felch, ICO Executive Director
The ICO Task Force on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) met recently during the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting in Florida, United States.
This revision to the ICD is a major one; it aims to serve not only the World Health Organization's (WHO) need for public health statistics, but also the terminology needs for Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and other Health Information Technology (HIT) applications.
The WHO has a special interest in defining the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) as a means to compare the impact of various diseases and to set health policy priorities. For vision, this translates to the Burden of Vision Loss.
We would like to request your expertise and input on this. Please read more about the Burden of Vision Loss at: archive.icoph.org/pdf/burdenofvisionloss.pdf and contact Task Force Co-Chair August Colenbrander, MD, directly at email@example.com, as soon as possible with your input. Initial proposals are due to be presented to WHO before summer.
- Satoshi Kashii, MD, Chair, ICO Task Force on ICD-11
Written for residents, beginning retina fellows and comprehensive ophthalmologists who are recently out of training - as well as for anyone interested in broadening their understanding of these complex patients - "Diabetic Retinopathy for the Comprehensive Ophthalmologist" is a free download at drcobook.com/.
Author Dr. Jonathan Walker is a retina specialist in private practice and a clinical assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. Dr. Walker encourages users to translate, adapt and share the information in the book.
"It is very well written in a narrative and easy to understand prose and I have no hesitation saying that this will be one of the most sought after books by the resident community..."
- N. Venkatesh Prajna, DO, DNB, FRCOphth, Chief, Department of Medical Education, Aravind Eye Care System
World Ophthalmology Congress® (WOC)
Please mark you calendars for these future World Ophthalmology Congresses of the ICO:
Other ICO Meetings
The ICO gratefully recognizes grants, gifts, and pledges to the ICOFoundation. This support allows us to continue our important and effective programs, creating a global alliance to prevent avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
Support the programs of the ICO by contributing to the ICOFoundation: icofoundation.org/contribute/make-a-donation.html
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