Close the Gap in Vision by 2020 national conference
15th March 2019
RDN’s Outreach eye health team joined more than 220 delegates from all Australian states and territories at the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on 14 and 15 March 2019.
RDN’s Ear and Eye Health Program Manager, Claire O’Neill, was invited to present on behalf of Outreach services.
Claire’s first presentation was themed around ‘Working Better with Outreach Services’, highlighting the importance of local engagement and collaboration in identifying needs and implementing solutions to reduce the health gaps experienced by Aboriginal people in rural and remote NSW and the ACT.
Claire’s second presentation, ‘Ophthalmology for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Rural Communities’, highlighted the contribution that local stakeholders including RDN, with the support of Outreach MOICDP Ophthalmology Expansion funding, made to the development of the now-functional public pathway to ophthalmology for Aboriginal people on the NSW South Coast.
RDN’s Senior Project Officer Jane Hager also accepted the Leaky Pipe Award for Regional Engagement on behalf of the Western NSW Eye Health Partnership. Examples of the partnership’s achievements include establishing public retinal surgery in the region in 2015, the establishment of a public cataract pathway, and the facilitation of annual eye health training to embed eye health care into primary care settings. Jane’s passion and perseverance in supporting stakeholders continues to contribute to improved eye care services and patient-centered models of care throughout the Western NSW region.
One delegate summarised the conference as successfully ‘linking a singular health issue to the greater overarching issues facing Aboriginal people’, while another described it as ‘reaffirming that we are moving in the right direction as a sector’.
Picture 1: Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference
Sean Tatipata - Fred Hollows Foundation, Heather Wilson - Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Trever Buzzacott - Aboriginal Community Services SA, Angee Ross - Indigenous Eye Health, Tony Coburn - CheckUP, Jane Hager - RDN.
Picture 2: RDN's Claire O'Neill at the Closing the Gap for Eye Vision conference