In the coming years, members of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) may remember the 2020 Annual Awards as the ceremony that was forced online by COVID-19. But here at the School, we’ll look back on it as a celebration of our community’s achievements as five faculty members were recognized for their service to both the association and the profession. Here are the awards, which were presented by OAO President Dr. Joshua Smith on April 5.
OAO PUBLIC EDUCATION AWARD - Drs. Tammy Labreche, Shamrozé Khan and Susan Leat, of the Centre for Sight Enhancement (CSE)
This award honours an OAO member (or group of members) for outstanding contributions in public education and awareness campaigns and activities.
This year’s award winners, Drs. Tammy Labreche, Shamrozé Khan and Susan Leat, have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the public, the profession, and have been steadfast in their desire to help people with low vision get the care they need from optometrists.
The CSE team has championed public and professional awareness of the benefits of low vision rehabilitation and assistive technology. They lead a group that includes assistive technology specialists, a counselor and vision trainer.
In 2017, the CSE team spearheaded the inaugural Canadian Interdisciplinary Vision Rehabilitation Conference (CIVRC) which brought together optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada (VLRC) staff, vision resource teachers, and occupational therapists.
Programming helped to educate professionals on the role of optometrists in vision rehabilitation and opportunities for collaboration.
The team’s work helped to pave the way for the white paper and advocacy recommendations submitted and approved by the Eye Health Council of Ontario, recognizing the role of optometry in the provision of low vision rehabilitation services AND the necessity to provide reimbursement for those services.
The Ministry of Health placed great emphasis on engaging patients to help shape care delivery models to improve their experience and positive outcomes.
The CSE team regularly provides public education events on topics including age-related macular degeneration, stroke, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, including four events in 2019. The realization that something can be done by optometry to help people see, has been an impactful and positive message.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD – Dr. Lisa Prokopich
This award recognizes distinguished long-term service to the Association.
Known for her volunteerism, Dr. Lisa Prokopich has dedicated countless volunteer hours to the profession. She has served on the EHCO (Eye Health Council of Ontario) sub-committees, and now on Council.
Dr. Prokopich helped the College of Optometrists of Ontario with the drug regulation and scope expansion. She provided her expertise to improve the diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease (DED) across Canada and played a big role in educating optometrists on Sjögren’s Disease.
She is also known for her guidance to students at the University of Waterloo. She is an advocate for the Association and the profession, and continues to support her colleagues at all levels, from students to retirees.
PRESIDENT’S AWARD – Dr. Stan Woo
Over the last year, Dr. Stan Woo has worked with OAO in the spirit of collaboration through bringing the School of Optometry & Vision Science, the College, and the Association together to move forward on scope expansion.
The Association noted his vision for the future of the profession of optometry in Ontario and recognized that the Doctor of Optometry program at Waterloo is evolving and expanding to meet the challenges of the new decade.
Additionally, Dr. Woo’s efforts have contributed to the ongoing transformation of the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) into a modern, comprehensive professional bridging program, Dr. Smith said.
Adapted from materials provided by the Ontario Association of Optometrists. Used with permission.