Thirty of Australia’s future eye health and vision care leaders rubbed shoulders with parliamentarians at Vision 2020 Australia’s inaugural Rising Stars event on Tuesday evening.
Rising Stars in Eye Health and Vision Care, held at Parliament House, Canberra, introduced some of the sector’s leading early-career optometrists, ophthalmologists, and low vision and rehabilitation experts to the world of advocacy.
The event was opened by the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Group for Eye Health and Vision Care, and guest speaker Vicki Bennett, Head of the Expenditure and Workforce Unit at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, shared insights about Australia’s eye health workforce.
The ‘stars’ met with parliamentarians, including Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services the Hon Jane Prentice MP, Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, the Hon Warren Snowdon MP and Senator the Hon Lisa Singh.
Andrew Harris, Vision 2020 Australia Board Director and optometrist, said: ‘It’s inspiring to hear about the incredible work our next generation of eye health leaders are doing.
‘Rising Stars provides a platform for early-career professionals to discuss the issues they are passionate about, from improving access to eye health services to ensuring the NDIS meets the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired.’
Rising Star Carina Trinh is an optometrist based in Sydney. She works at Dresden Optics, a company seeking to make eye care and spectacles more accessible and affordable.
Outside of this, Carina is on the Board of Optometry Australia NSW/ACT, she co-founded Young Optometrists, which supports students and optometrists at the beginning of their career, and helped set up a charity called Eyes4Everest that delivers eye care to remote areas of Nepal.
Ms Trinh, who spent the day at Optometry Australia’s advocacy workshop before Rising Stars, said events like these were important for early-career professionals.
’A lot of us have a lot of passion about wanting to make a difference in not just eye care but the health and wellbeing of our patients and the greater community,’ Ms Trinh said.
‘We need somewhere to channel that and figure out what directions to take. So the advocacy workshop today was fantastic because now we understand what needs to be in place, who we need to connect with, and how to communicate to make that happen.
‘And also being recognised here is really wonderful because people outside of optometry know what eye care is and it gives us a platform to communicate with these MPs and that’s probably an opportunity we’d not really have otherwise.’
Mr Harris said: ‘Rising Stars would not have been possible without our event partners Guide Dogs Victoria, Optometry Australia, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and Vision Australia – who not only nominated our thirty rising stars, but play a key role in the development of the sector’s future professionals.’
Rising Stars in Eye Health and Vision Care was supported by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson Vision.
For more information: Ellie Cooper at Vision 2020 Australia
03 9656 2030, 0403 342 922 or firstname.lastname@example.org