American Public Health Association
800 I Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001-3710
(202) 777-APHA • Fax: (202) 777-2534
comments@apha.org • http://www.apha.org

Vision Care
Section Newsletter
Winter 2008

Editor's Column

I would just like to take a minute to introduce myself (Kevin Frick) as the new newsletter editor for the Vision Care Section.  If you have an item that you would like included, please send it to me (kfrick@jhsph.edu) for consideration for inclusion in the next issue.  Any information for our next issue should be sent to me by early June.

National Public Health Week

Celebrate National Public Health Week 2008 — "Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance"          

 

        The health effects of climate change will take center stage during National Public Health Week, April 7-13, 2008. As part of the weeklong observance, themed "Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance,"  APHA will lead the charge in helping people, communities and families recognize that adapting to climate change and mitigating its impact is critical not just for the health of our planet, but for the health of the people in our nation and around the world.

 

          Changes in our climate are causing more severe weather events. Extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, high winds, snowstorms, floods and hurricanes have the potential to dramatically affect the health and safety of both individuals and our communities. Changing ecosystems allow for emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases such as dengue or malaria, which are changing the spectrum of disease risks affecting populations. In poorer parts of the world, drought and floods often force people to move away from lands no longer producing enough food, often resulting in hunger and malnutrition. Moreover, contaminated drinking water can result in outbreaks of diarrheal diseases, leading to dehydration or death.

 

          Few Americans will ever see the melting Greenland ice cap up close, or interact with an arctic polar bear facing extinction as its habitat melts.   But local public health professionals around the country increasingly will be dealing with the impacts of climate change on the ground, every day. Join APHA as we work to create a healthier planet. Visit the official National Public Health Week Web site at www.nphw.org to check out the climate change blog and brochure, sign up to be a National Public health Week partner, or add your week's event to the national calendar.  For more information about National Public Health Week, contact kaitlin.sheedy@apha.org.

APHA 2007 Pictures

Vision Care Section APHA 2007 Pictures

Section Chair's Column

The Vision Care Section has embarked on a number of new and exciting initiatives geared to eye care practitioners. It is our hope that this will infuse new energy and generate enthusiasm among our members and help act as a catalyst for new membership as well. Our section is already viewed as a model for other sections.

 

As I assume the chair position, a study designed to help improve clinical awareness and competence of eye care providers is under way. In an effort to communicate and disseminate information relevant to the clinical care of our patients, the Vision Care Section has formulated a task force to identify those clinical studies, new advances in clinical care and treatment, new pharmaceuticals and diagnostic and testing procedures that all clinicians should be familiar with. A monograph will be developed that will help provide eye health education to all eye providers. It will serve as a clinical summary companion, which the clinician would use in practice until the information becomes ingrained in his/her thinking. We may develop short glossy laminated summary sheets by condition for the providers to use in practice. A pre- and post-testing of the materials will help the clinician in the assessment of their knowledge and provide the study team with the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach. This document will be disseminated to the profession nationwide and made available online on APHA Web site, and possibly on other Web pages frequented by clinicians. The intent is to focus on up-to-date information on eye conditions and new advances. Links to related resources and additional information will further the objectives of this project. We intend to further the highlights of our efforts by providing updates every two or three years as the need develops. The online version can be regularly updated as new studies and developments occur. All members of this task force have been selected, and they represent nationally renowned clinicians, optometrists, an ophthalmologist, a health economist and public health representatives from the private and public sectors. The findings from this project will be disseminated and presented in many optometric and public health forums.

 

The Vision Care Section has been instrumental in passing numerous resolutions that affect vision care that have become official APHA policy. A total of eight resolutions submitted by our section have passed the rigorous process and have been adopted by APHA since the year 2000. These resolutions have been used in the legislative arena to help promote eye care at the state and federal levels. Notably, this past November both our resolutions passed. The first policy statement — Preventing Vision Loss through Smoking Cessation — recommends that the Surgeon General of the United States add rotating warnings concerning the loss of vision and potential blindness to the packages of cigarette and tobacco products; educate clinicians on the evidence linking smoking to eye disease; and encourage insurance companies to provide coverage for smoking cessation.  Our second resolution on Eyecare in Disaster Preparedness seeks to encourage: the inclusion of eyecare professionals in the disaster planning process; development of a manual on eye first aid; and participation in eye injury registries. Particular thanks are due to Dr. Dan Bintz, Jeff Todd and Dr. Kevin Jackson for spearheading these two very significant resolutions. Many others have assisted in the development of these resolutions, and we look to our members for suggestions for future proposed policy statements.

 

We encourage everyone to make an effort to attend our meetings, stay abreast of our activities and become active members. Because of our past leadership, we have become a dynamic group; a Section that is motivated and determined to make even greater strides to help improve vision care through our communities. Join us and become enveloped in our enthusiasm.