Vision Care
Section Newsletter
Winter 2004

Message from the Chair

In October 2004 the APHA Vision Care Section will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary. This is a wonderful opportunity to look back at the significant accomplishments of the section. There have been 21 Vision Care Section sponsored resolutions since 1979, and they have addressed a broad scope of public health issues, from inclusion of vision care in a National Health Service Program to the World Health Organization’s VISION 2020: The Right to Sight global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness. The resolutions have also addressed key issues impacting optometric practice. In 1990 a VCS resolution was adopted that urged state legislatures to update their optometric practice laws to permit optometrists the use of therapeutic pharmaceutical agents. The scope of optometric services has continued to be significantly improved and expanded since 1990. The resolution process also allowed a means to emphasize timely professional eye care for patients suffering from glaucoma and diabetes. These resolutions have positively impacted the lives of a broad population of individuals from children to the elderly, and continue to have tremendous future positive impact on vision care issues impacting patients worldwide.

The future of the Vision Care Section in APHA is bright. We will continue to address the vision care needs of the public through ongoing cooperative efforts amongst a broad scope of eye care disciplines in research, education and industry, as well as other health care professionals. Membership strength is a key factor in our success. Without volunteer participation and involvement the Vision Care Section could not exist. We have appreciated a period of tremendous growth, and we must continue to encourage more practicing optometrists to become members.

Students are also crucial contributors to our section. An optometrist who is involved with APHA as a student will carry their public health concerns to their patients and have a forum to make national contributions to crucial preventative eye care strategies. The BSK honor society and VCS have entered into a cooperative agreement that will allow for more student involvement in our section activities and we continue to pursue sponsor sources that will help us facilitate student participation.

There is also a tremendous opportunity for VCS members to participate in the Annual Meeting by submitting abstracts for posters or presentations. There is room for more active participation from optometrists in section activities and on APHA committees. Optometrists practice public health every day in their practices. We are extending an invitation for you to broaden your appreciation and contributions to public health at a state and national level. Please get involved and make this silver anniversary extra special for public health optometrists nationwide.


The Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association is the leading professional association that promotes and protects vision and eye health for all people.

The mission of the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association is to promote health and well-being with emphasis on vision and eye health through interdisciplinary partnerships. The VCS serves as an advocate to insure equality in, and access to, vision and eye health care, and to ensure inclusion of vision in public health policy.

Vision Care Section Elects New Officers

At the Annual Meeting in November in San Francisco, the Vision Care Section welcomed the following VCS members into leadership roles within the Section.

Ian B. Berger, MD, DrPH, FAAO

Gregory Wolfe, OD

Section Councilor
Bernard Maslovitz, OD, MPH

APHA Education Board
Debbie Hettler, OD, MPH

APHA Governing Council
Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, DrPH

APHA elects Ed Marshall first OD to chair Executive Board

For the first time in the 131 year history of APHA, and optometrist, Edwin C. Marshall, OD, MPH, has been elected chair of the APHA Executive Board.

Another optometrist, Melvin Shipp, OD, DrPH, was elected treasurue last year by the 212 members of APHA's Governing Council.

When asked about the significance of the recent election, Dr. Marshall noted, "Without a doubt, this is the most important singular milestone of my professional career. Being elected to chair the Execurtive Board of the largest public health association in the world is a tremendous honor that carries with it the responsibility and obligation to walk in the footsteps of public health giants."

AOA President Victor J. Connors, OD and Executive Director Michael D. Jones, OD met with the APHA Executive Board to discuss the progress of both groups working toward the goals of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed late last year. The MOU calls on both organizations to use their resources to improve public health in America. Since the MOU signing, AOA has embarked on Heatlhy Eyes Healthy People, a program that encourages eye care providers to focus on the overall health of patients. The APHA and AOA leaders also discused plans to ensure that state affiliates of each organization work together toward public health goals.

Vision Care Section Sponsored Resolution Adopted by APHA

The Vision Care Section sponsored resolution, "Increasing Access to Vision Rehabilitation," was authored by Elezabeth Hoppe, OD, DrPH. The policy resoltion passed the
APHA Governing Council. It "urges third-party payers, insurance companies, managed care organizations, and health plans to include and standardize coverage with adequate reimbursement for vision rehabilitation examinations and prescribed assistive devices including vision enhancement devices, adaptive technology, and social services."

The Vision Care Section has sucessfully passed more than 20 policy resolutions, including a resolution in 1980 which urged the elimiation of restrictive Medicare policies affecting optometrists and a recent resolution which supports eye examinations for children prior to entry into school, said outgoing Vision Care Section Chair, Valerie Conrad, OD, MPH.

The Vision Care Section represenets 1.6 percent of the total membership of APHA and is one of 26 sections within the organization.

Vision Care Section and Beta Sigma Kappa announce co-sponsorship of Student Paper Award

Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) and the Vision Care Section (VCS) of APHA proudly announce the Beta Sigma Kappa Public Health Student Paper award. This funded award "recognizes a student or group of students that has contributed significantly to the advancement of eye/vision care in the public health field from the perspective of a student in optometry, medicine, public health, or related health professions programs." The recipient will be provided a travel stipend, up to $1,000, to cover expenses to attend the VCS award ceremony at the APHA Annual Meeting.

The VCS has represented public health optometry to the nation and the international public health community for over 25 years. This dynamic Section and APHA have passed a number of resolutions in support of optometry’s role in the health delivery system with the goal of improving the ocular and visual welfare of the population.

BSK, optometry’s international honorary society, has been funding student research for over 75 years. This BSK-VCS partnership will allow BSK to fund an emphasis area, i.e. public health, and at the same time support and nurture students who have an interest in public health.

To assist the student(s) in the development of this public health project, BSK encourages students to apply for a BSK research student grant. Research grants are available in the Spring and awards up to $1,000 are available. More information is available from the BSK Web site, <>, including the diversity of funded topics.

For more information about the Beta Sigma Kappa Student Paper on Public Health, please contact Dr. Satya B. Verma, Chair, VCS Awards Committee at <> or visit <> and select VCS.

Mebership Update

I am delighted to report that there are now 40 student members of the APHA Vision Care section, which includes Sima Lal who is the national AOSA/APHA Liaison. I am also delighted to report that this year only one school failed to provide the names of two students, and the extra slot created by their failure to submit a name was awarded to another school. I am not so happy to report that as of December 2003, our section membership was 400. At the November meeting, I reported that our section membership was 419, which was actually an increase compared to the year 2002 figure, which was 407. I have not received the current list of members who did not renew, but as soon as it arrives, I will send out letter to remind them of the lapsed dues. This program of contacting lapsed members is fairly successful. At time the success rate has been almost 60 percent, but that varies.

We suffered another disappointment in regard to recruitment. Arrangements were made for me to discuss APHA membership with the state association presidents who were meeting in St. Louis. Unfortunately, the state association presidents were scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 12-14, and I will be in St. Louis for the meeting of AOA faculty liaisons on Jan. 16-18, and thus unable to address them. I do however plan to send a letter to every state association executive and president. I have done this before with some significant results.

I am open for any suggestion to increase our membership. If the figure of 25,000 is used for practicing optometrists, our current figures indicate that not even 2 percent of optometrists belong to APHA. We are back to 400 again, and as I have often stated, my dream is to at least go back to the days of the therapeutic drug resolution when our membership reached the 800 mark. I would also remind you that at the time that the section was formed on July 19, 1979, there were over 600 in the Special Interest Group (SPIG). Forgive me for my lecture, but please do all you can to recruit new members.

Morton W. Silverman, OD, FAAO
Chair, Vision Care Section

The Significance of Public Health in Optometry; Healthy Eyes Healthy People

Many topics discussed in the Healthy Eyes Healthy People objective of Healthy People 2010 are very important to us as optometry students and as future primary eye care providers. Healthy People 2010 is the blueprint for action for federal, state, and local health planning for the next 10 years. This is the first time that 10 vision care objectives have been recognized and included in this plan, along with 400 other health care objectives. Healthy Eyes Healthy People advocates the importance of vision health as a vital factor in overall public health. Optometry now has a true opportunity for visibility in public health programs and to provide services via HP 2010. Here are some of the main points discussed by the objective and areas where you can become involved:

  • As our population continues to live longer, the challenge of maintaining good vision is increasing. A report in "Vision Problems in the USA" found that 1 million people over the age of 40 are blind, and 2.4 million are visually impaired. This report expects these numbers to DOUBLE in the next 30 years.

  • The prevalence of eye diseases is alarming: a NEI/PBA report finds 5.3 million people have Diabetic Retinopathy, 1.6 million aged 60 and over have ARMD, and 2.2 million are diagnosed with Glaucoma, with another 2 million not even diagnosed!

  • Accidents involving the eye are greatly preventable with an increased knowledge of safety and prevention. Forty thousand eye injuries are sports related each year. More than 2,000 injuries occur each year from fireworks, and 1,000 eye injuries occur EACH DAY in the workplace.

  • Children's educational advancement is greatly deterred by vision problems. Only 14 percent of kids entering first grade have ever had an eye exam. Most parents and educators do not recognize that vision disorders are the number-one cause of handicapping conditions in children!

So, how can we achieve good health and optimum vision health for all people? The first step is to support and help implement the goals of Healthy People 2010. For example, participating in a vision screening of Head Start children will help meet one of the 10 vision objectives. The next action we can take is to reach farther into our communities. Become involved with your state optometric association’s Healthy Eyes Healthy People program. Another, and perhaps most important, route we can take to support vision health and public health is by enhancing health care delivery and by designing and implementing new health care policies.

As primary eye care providers, we are educators, advocators, facilitators, and spokespersons. We must utilize our role and ability to make a greater impact on the vision health of our patients. By doing this, we are in turn enhancing their overall health, and therefore promoting public health within our communities and profession. This is the first time vision health has been placed "at the table of public health,” and this is your opportunity to get involved and make an important difference!

For more information, please contact Sima Lal at <> and/or go to <>.

Section's Mega Booth Again Takes First Place!

The Vision Care Section's co-sponsored Mega Booth took first place in its catagory during the APHA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The booth was jointly sponsored by the Vision Care, Oral Health, Chiropractic Health, and Podiatric Health Sections. Many thanks go to Scott Pike, OD, and Garry Chu, OD, for their outstanding efforts to assure another sucessfull booth!

Don't Forget---Sign Onto the Vision Care Section Listserve!

APHA is providing a listserve service for the Vision Care Section. Having everyone in the section subscribe would make communication within the section easier.

To subscribe:

1. Send an email to <>. Be sure to use a lower-case "L" and not a "1" in 'vision-l'.

2. In the subject box, put "subscribe vision-l" Again, be sure to use a lower-case "L" and not the number one.

3. Shortly, you will receive a confirmation. From that confirmation, you will recieve instructions on how to unsubscribe, how to receive the listserve in digest form and how to send messages via the listserve.

4. The digest form is where you receive a listing of all the messages sent via the listserve for the day and you can pick which messages you would like to read.

Vision Care Section Announces Award Recipients

Stanley J. Yamane, OD, recieved the APHA Vision Care Section Distinguished Service Award at the APHA annual meeting. The Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor the Section can bestow, is presented to a person, institution, or group who has made an outstanding contribution or demonstrated continual high quality service in the area of public health eye/vision care.

As vice president of professional affairs for Vistakon, Dr. Yamane established annual support for student memberships in APHA. Through the American Optometric Student Association liaison to APHA, two students from each school of optometrry received a membership. "Some of thse students who have recieved these memberships have continued in leadership positions within the Vision Care Section. Stan's leadership has resulted in optometry students' exposrue to public health and in turn more optometrists are wroking to increase access to vision care services in underserved populations," said Satya Verma, OD, chair of the VCS Award Committee.

The Outstanding Scientific Paper/Project Award recipient was Brian D. Puent, an optoemtry student at The Ohio State Univerisity. This award recognizes a person, group or institution that has contributed significantly to the advancement of eye/vision care in the public health field. Also recognized was G. Lynn Mitchell, the second author.

The paper, "Adherence to Diabetic Standard of Care Guidelines," assessed optometric adherence to the American Diabetes Association's diabetic patient care guidelines for yearly dilated exams. The study reviewed 8,320 patient files with 683 being diabetic patients.

Both the Distinguished Serived Award and the Outstanding Scientific Student Paper/Project Award, were presented at the Vision Care Section's annual Eye Opener Breakfast.

2004 Policy Development and Review Process

APHA kicked off its 2004 Policy Development and Review Process in January. We have provided you with a link to information about how you can become more involved in policymaking at the Association. This information covers both the policy development process as well as the recently adopted policy review process, which was created to identify outdated APHA policy for archiving and also to identify gaps in APHA policy. We strongly encourage you to work with the leadership of your Section, Affiliate or SPIG to get engaged in this important process.

Two key dates to keep in mind this year are:
* Jan. 12-suggestions for subject areas in need of review were due.
* Feb. 13-proposed new policies are due. Please visit the APHA Web site at <> to view this year's policy development guidelines, including a calendar of important dates and deadlines for each step of the policy development and review process. You will need your username and password for the "Members Only" section of the APHA Web site, <>, to view this information. If you have any questions, please e-mail us at <>.

World Congress on Optometric Globalization (WCOG)

Attached is a preliminary program for the World Congress on Optometric Globalization (WCOG). This unique program has been many years in the planning and will address the challenges that both the optometric
profession and the ophthalmic industry will face in the light of accelerating globalization forces.

The meeting has been organized to include international experts from the globalization movement. It will feature a major keynote addresses by
representatives of the World Trade Organization (Hamid Mamdouh, Director of WTO Trade in Services); the World Health Organization (Serge Resnikoff, Director of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness); and
the ophthalmic industry (Rick Elias. President of Transitions and Chairman of VCA).

The Congress is sponsored by the World Council of Optometry (WCO) and hosted by the American Optometric Association (AOA) in conjunction with its Annual Congress. It is scheduled for June 21-23, 2004.

Related Files:

Cover the Uninsured Week 2004

Nearly 44 million Americans live without health care coverage - including 8.5 million children. Last year, the number of people without health care coverage increased by more than 2 million, the largest one-year increase in
a decade.

From May 10-16, 2004, Cover the Uninsured Week will feature events from coast to coast so that Americans can learn more about why this is a crisis. The fact is, eight out of 10 people who are uninsured either work or are in working families. For them, minor illnesses can become major ones because health care is delayed, and one significant medical expense can wipe out a family's bank account.

That is why APHA is pleased to announce our support of Cover the Uninsured Week 2004. Working with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and more than 800 national and local organizations, we hope to elevate this issue on the national agenda and in communities across the country.

For more information on Cover the Uninsured Week, visit <>. Sign up for updates and find events near you as activities are scheduled.

We encourage you to take part in this important effort. Stay tuned for more on Cover the Uninsured Week in the weeks ahead. If you have any questions regarding the APHA's involvement in Cover the Uninsured Week, please contact Don Hoppert at <>.

Disclosure in Regulatory Science

Click below to read the article by David Michaels and Wendy Wagner that appeared in the Dec. 19, 2003 issue of Science.

Related Files:

VCS Web site Update

Greg Hom, OD, the Section's webmaster, announced that UC Berkeley will continue to host the VCS website. This year, the Web site has been redesigned. Many links to other eye related sites have been added. Hom is currently working to update the list of officers, add photos of membership, and update the list of preferred contact information. APHA may in the future host all section Web site, but for now, the website will continue to be be hosted by UC Berkeley. You can contact Hom directly at: The Web site URL is:

Be sure to check it out!

Your VCS Leadership

Section Chair:
William Monaco, OD, PhD
Caring Vision, Inc.
23 Lynam Drive
Newark, DE 19702
Office: (302) 598-3698

Past Chair:
Valarie Conrad, OD, MPH
Illinois College of Optometry
3241 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
Office: (312) 949-7304

Ian Berger, OD

Gregory Wolfe, OD
University of Illinois at Chicago
3055 S. Cottage Grove
Chicago, IL 60616
Office: (312) 791-2212
Fax: (312) 791-2211


Membership Chair:
Morton W. Silverman, OD
NOVA Southeastern University, HPP
College of Optometry
3200 S. University
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33328
Office: (954) 262-1440

Awards Chair:
Satya B. Verma, OD
Pennsylvania College of Optometry
8360 Old York Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027
Office: (215) 780-1345
FAX: (215) 780-1327

Program Chair:
Kelly Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD (‘05)
The Ohio State University College of Optometry
320 10th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
Work Phone: (614)688-5381

Nominations Chair:
Valarie Conrad, OD, MPH
Illinois College of Optometry
3241 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
Office: (312) 949-7304

Newsletter Editor:
Gregory Wolfe, OD
University of Illinois at Chicago
3055 S. Cottage Grove
Chicago, IL 60616
Office: (312) 791-2212

AOSA Liason:
Sima Lal, MPH
c/o Illinois College of Optometry


R. Norman Bailey, OD, MPH ('02)
3120 Holly Hall Drive
Houston, TX 77054
Office: (713) 743-1916

Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, DrPH
New England College of Optometry
Boston, MA

APHA Action Board Representative
Norma Bowyer, OD, MPH
244 Wagner Road
Morgantown, WV 26501
Office: (304) 291-5051

APHA Education Board Representative
Debbie Hettler, OD, MPH
Truman Veterans Hospital
MailStop 112-Eye Clinic
800 Hospital Drive
Columbia, MO 65201
Office: (573) 443-6519-pager 421
(573) 814-6575
FAX: (573) 814-8800


Greg Hom OD, MPH (’04)
11230 Sorrento Valley Rd, Suite 115
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 858-535-9835

Gary Chu, OD (‘04)

Kelly Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD (‘05)
The Ohio State University College of Optometry
320 10th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
Work Phone: (614)688-5381

Wende W. Wu, OD, MPH, MS (‘05)
Albequerque, NM

Bernard Maslovitz, OD, MPH

Web Page Editor
Greg Hom OD, MPH (’04)
11230 Sorrento Valley Rd, Suite 115
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 858-535-9835