Vision Care
Section Newsletter
Fall 2011

From the Hot Seat…

September 17, 2011


It is hard to believe that our Annual Meeting is just over a month away.  Roughly 13,000 of us will gather in Washington, D.C., for APHA’s 139th Annual Meeting.  Despite the sheer volume of events and magnitude of the meeting, there is an ironic sense of intimacy that ripples across our Sections, large and small.  In addition, the work is honest and mission focused which lends to a contagious enthusiasm.  VCS members have described the energy as ‘palpable’.  For that reason alone, it is perhaps the most unique and rewarding conference I have ever attended. 


This year will be no exception as APHA’s Annual Meeting theme, "Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds and Bodies", encourages us to recognize the physical and social determinants of (vision) health along with disparities in access to critical community resources that so profoundly impact health outcomes.  Our nine scientific sessions and two poster sessions attest to the relevance of vision and eye health across all communities.  Most importantly, we will take great pleasure in celebrating our very own APHA President-Elect, Melvin D. Shipp, OD, MPH, DrPH, who has made a tremendous impact on our own professional communities!


First, the VCS Program Committee has developed what is arguably the most collaborative, interprofessional and robust VCS Program yet.  APHA has  specifically highlighted the following sessions as those ‘not to be missed’:


Session 5153.0 - Integrating Vision Health into Healthy Aging: a joint session with Aging & Public Health Section which will discuss why eye health promotion and vision loss prevention is an important component of healthy aging.


Session 5092.1 - The INSIGHT Research Network: a new collaborative approach to strategies for improving population eye health - Site-specific and network studies from the Innovative Network for Sight Research (INSIGHT) will investigate barriers and enablers to the delivery of efficacious and cost-effective eye care that prevent vision loss and promote eye health. Check it out and see for yourself…the energy in the air will be palpable. 


Secondly, in addition to our strong scientific program, we will celebrate those distinguished colleagues who have made a substantive impact within our greater eye and vision care community.   Specifically, we have the pleasure of honoring one of the VCS’s founding members, APHA President-Elect, Dr. Melvin D. Shipp.  We will celebrate his contributions within our Section and APHA over the past 25 years with a special dessert and champagne reception (funded by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care) from 9-11 p.m. on Oct. 31.  All VCS members are encouraged to attend this important event!  If you are unable, please take a moment to thank him for his services and congratulate him by visiting his webpage  The following morning, we will recognize the accomplishments of several other distinguished colleagues during our VCS Annual Awards Ceremony.  The ceremony will take place during the Eye Opener Breakfast  (generously funded by the American Optometric Association) on Tuesday, Nov. 1.  


Thirdly, while we have much to celebrate, we also have much work to do. You may recall the challenge posed in our first newsletter (Feb 2011) to consider the emphasis of interdisciplinary partnerships, advocacy and policy within our mission statement and how we might direct those efforts toward increasing our relevance as a Section.  Since then, the VCS elected to focus on leadership, advocacy, membership, and communications.  Our activities throughout the year have included a new strategic planning template; collaboration with other sections; authorship of new policies; initiation of a new year-long advocacy campaign; creation of a new ‘Dr. Melvin D. Shipp Best Abstract Award’; a robust scientific program; improved communication strategies including budget transparency, to name a few. None of this could have happened without the hard work and collaboration of our dedicated VCS committees and chairs, but there is more to be done!  Please see the "Call to Leadership" in this newsletter and consider taking on a VCS leadership position.  With your help, we will continue to expand our organizational capacity and make interprofessional collaboration the norm.  Only then can we effectively promote the relevance of vision and eye health within the greater scope of our national health care reform milieu. 


Lastly, I am deeply appreciative to all of our VCS leaders (past and present) and as my tenure comes to a close at the end of the Annual Meeting, I thank the entire membership for your support during my tenure as chair.  I am especially grateful to our VCS Chair-Elect Jeff Todd, JD  (Senior Vice President & COO, Prevent Blindness America) who has worked so closely with me and tirelessly on our behalf.  Please join me in November as we welcome him and show our strong support throughout the coming year! 


Be well and see you in D.C.!


Renée Mika, OD, FAAO

APHA-Vision Care Section Chair

Midyear Meeting-Chicago 2011

Midyear Meeting Summary Report

Please take a moment to read Dr. Norma Bowyer’s summary report of APHA’s first midyear meeting on health care reform.  She did an excellent job representing all of us, and her report will be included in our annual business meeting(s).

Advocacy Webinar

Advocacy Webinar for Section Leaders

APHA hosted a webinar for section leaders on Wednesday, Sept. 21.  Be on the look out for another e-blast following that date with a draft of the VCS Annual Meeting Agenda and guidelines for APHA advocacy while visiting Washington, D.C.

APHA 2011 Reception for Mel Shipp

Special Celebration

The APHA Vision Care Section cordially invites you to a reception to honor APHA President-Elect Dr. Melvin Shipp.  The reception will take place in Washington, D.C., during the 2011 APHA Annual Meeting.  Please check out the link to the invitation on the APHA website for details or click for the PDF file .  We hope to see you there!


Call to Leadership

Vision Care Section Leaders Needed  

As we begin to look at the committee needs for 2012, it is time to consider leadership roles within the Section.  Currently, there are three positions we are seeing to fill.  This is a great opportunity to increase your involvement in the work of our Section. 

·         Membership Committee Chair – This person will help coordinate the essential work of our committee in retaining our existing members while expanding our membership.  This is a critical role, as both our voting power within APHA and the financial resources provided to us by APHA are tied to our numbers.  If you have specific questions about this role, please contact the current Membership Committee chair, Catherine Johnson, at 

·         Communications Committee Chair  –  Over the last year, Greg Wolfe  –  our current webmaster  –  has been challenging us to think through how the VCS can best utilize the various communications channels available to us to reach out to our members.  Are our members receiving all communications through existing channels – website, newsletter, e-blasts, etc.?  Are they useful to them?  Are they able to contribute discussion topics to the Section easily?  Are we taking full advantage of new and emerging communications technologies and strategies to reach our members, and promote our Section to external parties (and possible new members)?  These are challenging questions and ones that we need to continue to consider.  We are looking for someone to help us delve fully into these questions in the coming year.  If you have specific questions about any of our current efforts, feel free to contact Greg at or our Secretary/Newsletter Editor Pamela Lowe at 

·         Annual Meeting Booth Coordinator  –  This individual is responsible for identifying and coordinating materials to make available at our booth at the 2012 Annual Meeting and for coordinating volunteer staffing of the booth from among Section members.  The 2012 meeting will be held in San Francisco from Oct. 27-31.  If you have any questions about this position, please contact our current booth coordinator, Nita Patel at 

If anyone has an interest in serving in any of these positions for the coming year, please contact Jeff Todd, VCS chair-elect, at


Advocacy Track at Annual Meeting

Check out APHA’s Advocacy Track at this year’s Annual Meeting

APHA will host a one-day advocacy track of sessions during the 2011 Annual Meeting in D.C. on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011, and all APHA members are encouraged to attend to hone their public health advocacy skills. For more detailed information regarding the particular sessions, refer to the 2011 online program ( ) and enter the session number to see the list of planned speakers and topics to be covered. Attendees will be eligible for CE credit.

Ø       “Nailing your policy: Creating APHA’s policy buddy system,” Session 3007.0, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.

Ø       “Media Advocacy: Breaking through the crowded news cycle,” Session 3119.0, 10:30 a.m.

Ø       “The Who, What & How of Advocacy,” Session 3216.0, 12:30-2 p.m.

Ø       “Mobilizing a public health campaign,” Session 3318.0, 2:30-4 p.m.

Ø       “The Role of Social Media in Public Health,” Session 3417.0, 4:30 p.m.

Free Registration

Win a free Annual Meeting registration!

Forward the contact information for new companies or organizations that you would like to see included as exhibitors at the Annual Meeting to Priya Bose, Meetings and Exhibits Coordinator, at Anyone submitting a qualified lead for potential new exhibitors will be entered into a drawing for a free full registration. Get to know our exhibitors before the meeting on our Virtual Expo ( )!


Public Health Buyer Guide

APHA’s Public Health Buyer’s Guide links users to industry products:  is designed specifically for public health professionals, allowing easy search of vendors from a link on the APHA website’s home page, Within the Public Health Buyer's Guide, public health professionals will be able to easily locate products and services unique to our industry without the clutter of general Internet search engine results.

Discounted Courses

Proposed Test for Inside Public Health e-newsletter to active APHA members :

APHA is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Drexel University Online. Under this program, APHA members and their families are eligible for special tuition discounts of up to 25 percent when they enroll in any of Drexel’s online courses.  Drexel University Online offers a wide range of courses in a flexible online format, including CEPH-accredited programs in biostatistics and epidemiology. Please see the APHA partnership page for more details ( ).

Any agreement entered into between Drexel University Online and an APHA member, employee or family member, is with Drexel University Online and not with APHA.  APHA does not endorse any products or services displayed or referred to in conjunction with this partnership and is not responsible for the actual content of Drexel University Online programs.

Public Health Career Day

Let APHA host your public health career day at the Annual Meeting .


Employers, this is your opportunity to meet thousands of public health professionals and qualified candidates for hire. Job seekers, here is your chance to market your resume, meet recruiters and sign up for a professional career coaching session, either an individual or group session. Advance your public health career and find new prospects with APHA’s Public Health CareerMart. Find out more

Call for State Public Health Funds

PHACT: Call for Federal Public Health Funds at Work in Your State   

In addition to attending town hall meetings this year, APHA would like for you to share a story about why public health funding is important in your community or state. Preferably, the funding would come from one of these three sources: 

1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2.  Health Resources and Services Administration

3.  Prevention and Public Health Fund

 Examples can provide:

 ·    An approximate estimate of the amount of the funding received

·    Location of the program (City, state)

·    A summary of the program/intervention (PH issue and intervention being used)

·    Any examples of positive outcomes to date

Make all submission to or email us at

Thanks for taking action to protect public health!

Public Health Transportation Policies

Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation


APHA has recently released a list of 10 Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation ( ). These policies recognize the various impacts that transportation policies can have on public health — they can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, asthma, obesity and mental health disorders — especially on vulnerable populations, including the elderly, the poor and individuals with disabilities. We believe that if transportation policies are reviewed and evaluated with these principles in mind, we will be better able to ensure that health and equity are well-represented. By holding transportation policies to a stated set of standards, we can encourage a transportation system that supports health, and direct funds to programs that improve health, equity and well-being. It is essential that other organizations — at the national, state and local level — demonstrate their support for these principles by joining us as signatories. Please sign on here ( ) to show your organization’s support for these essential principles.