The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Global Partnership Executive Virginia Sarah, and Executive Director for Global Advocacy Jennifer Gersbeck, have been recognised in the 2020 IAPB Vision Excellence Awards.
The Vision Excellence Awards recognise outstanding contributions to advocacy, innovation, program implementation, institution-building and disease control during the twenty years of Vision 2020.
The Vision Excellence Awards recognise outstanding contributions to advocacy, innovation, program implementation, institution-building and disease control
Ms Sarah and Ms Gersbeck were lauded for their dedication and leadership in the eye health sector.
In her role as Global Partnership Executive, Ms Sarah drives The Fred Hollows Foundation’s commitment to eliminating trachoma as a public health problem worldwide through initiatives supporting national health systems. She has played a range of roles on the global stage, including as Chair of The International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC).
CEO of SightSavers Caroline Harper remarked that Ms Sarah’s hard work and commitment were unparalleled.
“Virginia really puts in the extra mile; she has always been someone for whom the mission comes before anything else – a quality that is all too rare in this world,” Ms Harper said.
“She did sterling work within ICTC, at a time that was critical for trachoma, as we were just bringing in new donors to the space.”
After entering the world of eye health through Vision 2020 Australia in 2004, Jennifer Gersbeck transformed a small, largely-program oriented organisation into a globally recognised example of leadership, collaboration and influence – a legacy she continues today with The Fred Hollows Foundation.
Ms Gersbeck joined The Foundation in 2016, bringing with her the skills of partnership and diplomacy. She was a key force in moving the very first World Report on Vision from an idea to reality, and driving forward to achieve the new World Health Assembly resolution on “integrated people-centred eye care,” in 2020.
Professor Hugh Taylor, former co-chair of Vision 2020 Australia, made the case for Jennifer’s nomination.
“Jennifer joined a fledging Vision 2020 Australia and with her leadership and persistence, it has become a highly successful body for advocacy,” Prof Taylor said.
“Since leaving Vision 2020 Australia, Jennifer has shown the same drive and commitment at Fred Hollows, and she has provided leadership within IAPB and the Vision 2020 partnership.
“[She] is an amazing woman and she has done an outstanding job.”