This year Optometry Western Australia will push forward with a number of initiatives aimed at broadening opportunities for optometrists and enhancing eye care for all community members.
Optometry WA (OWA) publicly thanks our immediate past President Dr Rob Howie, long standing board member Simon Hogan, and board member Christine Baker. Through what was a particularly difficult period, they worked tirelessly to offer support, guidance, opinions and governance with only one thought in mind; that of ensuring optometry is recognised at all levels while having a sound organisation backing the profession.
OWA remains committed to ensuring employment opportunities and balance are achieved in the WA market
Filling the empty spaces left by these three individuals is not an easy task, however we are pleased to report that Roxanne Medhora is our newly appointed President, David Hsu our Vice President, Kevin Sun and Stephanie Bahler newly appointed directors along with generous and diverse support, expertise and viewpoints from a mix of experienced board members and new appointees. Early Career Optometrists (ECO) are also well represented, and we welcome Kitty Wong as the new ECO President. As we progress through 2021, please make sure you catch up with your board members.
WAVE 2021, 20–21 MARCH, FACE-TO-FACE AND ONLINE
With the disappointment of cancelling WAVE 2020 still fresh in our minds we are excited to say WAVE 2021 is only a month away. WAVE this year will be broadcast internationally and we will welcome delegates in person at the popular Fremantle Esplanade Hotel. As usual, a packed program awaits delegates, this year designed to meet Optometry Board Australia’s new CPD requirements, to accommodate members’ individual learning plans, and to provide a high degree of interactivity. WAVE will become part of your learning journey, supported by CPD events and National initiatives throughout the year.
OWA has a multitude of plans in place to ensure your education, protection, safety and well-being while at WAVE, as well as opportunities to catch up with colleagues from around the country. If you have not registered yet, we encourage you to access the member portal as soon as you can – face-to-face delegate numbers may be partially restricted.
Keep a look out for regular OWA emails listing our very popular up and coming monthly CPD evenings. Given the success of our online CPD in 2020, we will of course continue the live streams to ensure regional members can access the same high-quality content.
OWA remains committed to ensuring employment opportunities and balance are achieved in the West Australian market. While we understand some members remain opposed to the University of Western Australia (UWA) course, it is here to stay and something that we will work with for the benefit of the program’s future graduates. UWA students will join us during CPD evenings to expand their networking and education opportunities, and OWA will actively ensure these students are embraced, encouraged, and supported. Additionally, OWA will work with UWA to focus on initiatives involving the expansion of employment opportunities in the public hospital system and longer student placements in regional areas to fulfil unmet demand.
OWA continues to actively lobby to secure oral prescribing rights for therapeutically endorsed optometrists in addition to our ongoing work pressuring local decision makers to drastically improve the subsidised spectacle scheme in WA. Our work liaising with the public hospital system also continues in an effort to ensure accurate referral mechanisms are meeting the needs of all key stakeholders.
We remain committed to implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and providing broader education for optometrists in this area. A RAP is a strategic document that supports an organisation’s business plan. It includes practical actions that will drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation both internally and in the communities in which it operates. The RAP Program contributes to advancing the five dimensions of reconciliation by supporting organisations to develop respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Supporting this work, OWA was active in lobbying State and Federal Health Ministers during NAIDOC week and continues to push for broader recognition.
I look forward to 2021 bringing strength, resilience, balance, and a bright future for all optometrists, no matter what part of your career journey.
Evan MacRae is the Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Western Australia.