Vision Care
Section Newsletter
Winter 2011

Chair Message

From the Hot Seat…

February 14, 2011


APHA’s overarching goal is to be the ‘go to’ organization for public health.  At the close of our business meeting in November and again last month, I challenged our Vision Care Section (VCS) to ask ourselves why we should be the ‘go to’ organization for eye and vision health.  After all, there are any number of (much larger) organizations that focus on eyes and vision… what makes us so special?  Our mission statement may be a good place to start… to promote health and well-being with emphasis on vision and eye health through interdisciplinary partnerships. The VCS serves as an advocate to ensure equality in, and access to, vision and eye health care, and to ensure inclusion of vision in public health policy.”


All too often, the words of a mission statement are easily dismissed, forgotten, or deemed irrelevant over time.  Ours is unique in that it emphasizes interdisciplinary partnerships, advocacy and policy.  What other vision and eye health organization can claim the same?  Not only is our mission statement relevant today, it calls us to recognize our purpose and sharpen our focus. 


We have proudly written or co-sponsored more than 27 policies in over 30 years.  In addition, our diligent and interdisciplinary policy workgroup has authored three policy resolutions this year alone!  Please join me in thanking Jeff Todd (APHA-VCS chair-elect), Dr. Tony DiStephano, and Dr. John Whitener, for taking the lead on two updated policies (fireworks & global eye health) and one new policy focused children’s access to vision care respectively.  While we are proud of the hard work and collaboration of the VCS Council and Advocacy Work Group, our advocacy efforts in support of those important policies will be the signpost of our relevance as a section.  Thus as we continue to build our interdisciplinary partnerships and increase our policy efforts, advocacy will remain the primary focus of our strategic planning process this year. 


One way we might strengthen our advocacy efforts is by reaching out to our state affiliates.  Congratulations to our Ohio state affiliate, which has recently created a Vision Care Section!  To our knowledge, they are the only active state affiliate VCS in the nation.  This presents an excellent opportunity for collaboration and advocacy at the state level.  I have been invited to speak with the OPHA-VCS leadership in the coming month, and I look forward to our dialogue.  Another opportunity is APHA’s National Public Health Week (April 4-10) by addressing the importance of injury and violence prevention through the theme “Safety is No Accident: Live Injury-free.” We will be discussing ways in which our Section and individuals might participate, especially since we have an excellent policy on sports and eye safety.  Stay tuned for a future e-blast to that effect!  In the meantime, be sure to check out the website and impressive toolkit (pdf) that’s available!  Also see if Rochelle Mozlin’s (APHA-VCS member) guest editorial entitled “Choose Prevention” in the November 2010 issue of Optometry might inspire you!


If we are to continue fulfilling our mission statement, we must envision what ‘success’ should look like, what it will take to get there, and how it will lend to increasing relevance within the larger vision care and public health communities and particularly for the public whom we serve.  Thanks to all of our VCS committee chairs who continue to work hard and contribute to our shared mission.  Be sure to read their updates and all the good news that follows!  Not least, a special thanks goes to Dr. Pamela Lowe, APHA-VCS secretary, for assuming the role of newsletter editor!  As always, feel free to drop a line or two and let me know how we might better serve you, our valued members.





Renée Mika, OD, FAAO


Note from Editor

Welcome to the Vision Care Section Winter 2011 Newsletter.  As newsletter editor I would like to encourage all VCS members to contribute to this publication.  Each year, three newsletters will be published -- a Winter, Spring and Fall edition -- so this is an excellent venue to maintain timely, open lines of communication.  Updates on committee activity, award recognitions and/or any public health articles of interest would be appreciated.  Please feel free to send your submissions directly to me at   If you need to contact me verbally, my office number is (847) 647-0707. 

I thank you for your consideration and appreciate the opportunity to serve as VCS secretary this year.


Pamela A. Lowe OD, FAAO

2011 Committee Updates

Committee Updates

Advocacy: Chair: Jeff Todd

Fireworks Policy submitted Feb. 15 for consideration at the 2011 APHA Meeting.

Awards: Chair: Siu G. Wonh

Obtained funds for the Distinquished Service Award and the MS Outstanding Student Project from Hoya.

There will be a call for nominations of awards March 31, 2011 that will be published in AOA News.  Recipients will be selected by the middle of May, and recommendations will be sent to the VCS chair.

Membership: Chair: Catherine Johnson

Recruitment and retention are top priorities this year.  The goal is to diversify membership and to message through multimedia tools such as website, e-mail, facebook and other social media.  An emphasis will be put on recruiting students and new professionals via receptions and awards breakfast at the Annual Meeting.

Program: Chairs: Xinzhi Zhang & Mark Schwartz

Feb. 7 was the deadline for the call for abstracts.  Will continue to encourage members to submit their work and attend annual meetings.

Program Planning: Chair: Xinzhi Zhang

Priorities for this year will stress creating collaborative sessions with other APHA sections for cross promotion of agenda. 

A conference call is planned with Maternal and Child Health Section as well as a strong effort to reach out to the Health Education and Health Promotion Committee.

Website: Chair: Linda Enemuoh

Priorities this year will be to establish and maintain informative content on the website hosted by APHA.  Emphasis will be placed on the use of social media to reach beyond the APHA hosted site.



Call to Action for Commitees and Working Groups

Call to Action!!

Anyone interested in being more active in VCS committees or working groups please let us know.  If you would like to help out the Communications Committee with website, social media, etc., please contact Catherine Johnson at (that's an underscore between Catherine and Johnson in the e-mail address) and/or if you would like to help out the Advocacy Committee please contact Stacy Lyons at  You can also contact Renee Mika, VCS chair, at with further questions or interests in other areas.  Thanks for your consideration...we look forward to you sharing your time and talents!

Dates to Remember

                    Special Dates to Note!


Optometry’s Meeting

For all attending this year's Optometry Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, be sure to attend our APHA VCS business meeting on Friday, June 17, from 3-6 p.m.  Room location will be determined in the near future.  Hope to see you all there!


National Public Health Week

Safety is NO Accident

It only takes a moment for an injury to happen – a fall on a stair, a moment’s glance away from the road, a biking or sports-related injury, a medication mix-up. But it also takes just a moment to protect against injuries and make communities safer. The potential for injury is all around us. Each year, nearly 150,000 people die from injuries, and almost 30 million people are injured seriously enough to go to the emergency room.

During National Public Health Week 2011, the APHA needs your help to educate Americans that "Safety is No Accident". Together, we can help Americans live injury-free in all areas of life: at work, at home, at play, in your community and anywhere people are on the move. We all need to do our part to prevent injuries and violence in our communities. Join us as we work together to create a safer and healthier nation.

National Public Health Week


APHA Midyear Meeting Registration

Registration Now Open for APHA Midyear Meeting — "Implementing Health Reform: A Public Health Approach"

Registration is now open for APHA’s Midyear Meeting: Implementing Health Reform — A Public Health Approach. Join public health colleagues and partners in Chicago, June 23-25, to better understand the health reform law and its implications from a public health perspective. Gain the tools needed for implementing the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and for improving health outcomes in communities across the country. The early-bird registration deadline is April 15. To register or for more information, visit

7th Annual APHA Film Festival

The Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section's Health Communication Working Group (HCWG) is seeking
submissions for the 8th Annual APHA Film Festival at the 139th APHA
Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, 2011.
The Annual APHA Film Festival is an opportunity to showcase the application of visual media in public health practice. Deadline for submissions is April 1, 2011.

For more information, including how to submit an entry, please visit
Eligible productions should:
*        Be recent (no more than three years old).
*        Address a public health issue .
*        Show evidence of collaboration between the producing agency and the intended audience.
*        Be created for a U.S. audience (not limited to English language productions).

 Launched in 2004, the Annual APHA Film Festival is organized by HCWG and International Health. Last year, it featured over 40 videos and attracted over 500 attendees. It is the only national film festival dedicated to public health. Founded in 1998, HCWG is part of the PHEHP Section of APHA. HCWG provides its 380 members a forum to network and contribute to cutting-edge discussions on health communication and its role in public health theory, research and practice.

Want to join HCWG and sign up for its monthly eNewsletter?
Follow HCWG on Twitter at

APHA 2011 Open Positions


Action Board (11 Vacancies)  
There is a one per unit (listed below) limit specific to Action Board, and current vacancies are based on carry over terms from other units. 
Affiliates, Special Primary Interest Groups, Student Assembly, Community Health Workers Section, Chiropractic Health Care Section, Health Informatics Information Technology Section, HIV/AIDS Section, Mental Health Section, Oral Health Section, Podiatric Health Section, School Health Education & Services Section 
For the following Committees, there is no established limit to the number of members per unit. 
American Journal of Public Health (5 Vacancies) 
Annual Meeting Program Planning At Large (3 Vacancies) 
Awards Committee (4 Vacancies) 
Committee on Affiliates (3 At Large Vacancies) 
Committee on Bylaws (2 Vacancies) 
Committee on Membership (1 Vacancy) 
Committee on Women’s Rights (2 Vacancies) 
Education Board (5 Vacancies) 
Equal Health Opportunity Committee (3 Vacancies) 
International Human Rights Committee (5 Vacancies) 
Intersectional Council Steering Committee (No Vacancies) 
Martha May Eliot Award Committee (2 Vacancies) 
Publications Board (5 Vacancies) 
Science Board (5 Vacancies) 
The Nation’s Health Advisory Committee (3 Vacancies) 

InfantSEE Update

InfantSEE®, a public health program of Optometry Cares - The AOA Foundation, continues to serve infants across this country.  In 2010, more than 14,000 infants received a no-cost comprehensive eye examination, regardless of family household income or availability of insurance. Overall, the rate of cause for concern (failed examinations) has increased over the past several years. From the forms returned in 2010, one in seven infants have been identified as having a cause for concern that requires follow-up care.

Additionally, InfantSEE® continues to identify infants suffering from life -threatening conditions. More than five cases of retinoblastoma have been documented in the history of the program; countless numbers of hyperopia, astigmatism, myopia and amblyopia have been discovered through the program.  The InfantSEE® program is currently involved in its second round of federal funding, which will bring dedicated outreach to eight states (South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Maine, Ohio, New Mexico and Iowa) to identify and assess the overall eye health and vision of infants. 


Furthermore, InfantSEE® continues to exhibit at numerous meetings within and outside of the optometric community.  Recently, InfantSEE® exhibited at maternal and child health meetings, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners national meeting with the goal of building relationships with groups that can assist in sharing the message and availability of the infantSEE® program.

If you would like more information on InfantSEE®, please contact Mark Schwartz by e-mail at or (800) 365-2219 or visit

Healthy People 2020 Objectives Unveiled

Healthy People 2020 Objectives

On Dec. 2, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  unveiled Healthy People 2020, the nation’s new 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention.  Healthy people provides science-based objectives for improving the health of all Americans.  For three decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to encourage collaborations across sectors; guide individuals toward making informed health decisions; and measure the impact of prevention activities.  Healthy People 2020 is the result of a multi-year process that reflects input from a diverse group of individuals and organizations.  Through the website, you can view the new Healthy People 2020 topic areas and objectives, tailor information to their needs, and explore evidence-based resources for implementation.  Included are eight vision objectives, many of which are carried over from Healthy People 2010.  One new objective is to “increase the proportion of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that provide comprehensive vision health services."

2011 Section Leadership Calendar


If you have any trouble accessing the above file please contact me at

Pamela A. Lowe, OD, FAAO-VCS Secretary



2010 Annual Meeting VCS Minutes


If you have trouble accessing the June 2010 minutes with the above file, contact me at

Respectfully Submitted,

Pamela A. Lowe OD, FAAO-VCS Secretary