Despite the unseasonal downpour as remnants of Cyclone Debbie headed down south, Save Sight Institute was well represented at this year’s Sydney Medical School Faculty Dinner, with 20 staff invited to attend. The dinner provided a unique opportunity to recognise the excellence of staff within the Faculty and several SSI staff were recognised for their outstanding achievement in ophthalmology.
Clinical Professor Frank Martin was recognised in the International Awards category, acknowledging his receipt of the Linksz Award from the International Strabismological Association. Professors Gerard Sutton and Stephanie Watson were both acknowledged in the National Awards category; Gerard gave the RANZCO Council Lecture in 2016 and Stephanie was elected Chair of the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia – the first female Chair.
Professor Brendan Murphy, the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, was the invited guest speaker and gave an empowered speech on health economics and the role of medical professionals in ensuring the financial sustainability of the medical system in Australia.
“The Sydney Medical School (SMS) Faculty Dinner is an annual event that acknowledges the many extraordinary and powerful contributions made by members of SMS to research, teaching and service to the community. It is a time to recognise and celebrate the many, varied contributions that the academic and professional staff of SMS make to the University, the health system and Australia” said SSI Director, Professor Peter McCluskey.
On Wednesday 5 April, SSI was pleased to welcome the team of hard-working volunteers from the Lugarno Lions Club to tour the Institute. With a long history of supporting local organisations, the Lugarno Club are this year recognising local contributors to ophthalmology and vision health. Long standing Lions member, Mr Jean-Claude Legrand, current Treasurer and Secretary of the Sydney Eye Lions Club, nominated our very own Professor John Grigg and Professor Stephanie Watson to be recognised for their outstanding commitment and contribution to ophthalmology and vision research. The tour provided the Lugarno Lions Club with an opportunity to see firsthand our excellence in eye research and acknowledge the contributions of Professors Grigg and Watson.
The tour began in the busy Save Sight Institute Clinic, including a free eye check for one Lions volunteer with the new OPTOS machine (clean bill of health!). The tour continued to the aptly named NSW-ACT Save Sight Health Care/Foundation Save Sight Institute Lab to view the work of researchers in the area of retinal development. The Lions were treated to the sweeping views of Macquarie Street, with one volunteer regaling his tales of watching the military parades in his youth.
The tour continued to the Billson Lab with a comprehensive overview of the research by Professor Paul Martin, complete with some awe-inspiring images of the human retina.
The afternoon was capped off with Professor John Grigg and Professor Stephanie Watson being formally invited to the Lugarno Club’s annual dinner on the 11 May to acknowledge their contribution to the community.
The Save Sight Institute is involved in a new outreach service which recently won a Top End Health Service Quality Award for ‘Improving Elective Surgery Access’.
The QBE Foundation has donated $10,000 to support a unique initiative by Sydney’s Save Sight Institute to assist children and teenagers with low vision or blindness. The “Making Connections” information day was attended by approximately 200 people, including teenagers with vision loss, their parents and teachers. Parents and carer’s of babies and young children with eye disease were also invited to attend.
The Save Sight Institute has released findings from a commissioned report into the socioeconomic impact of low vision and blindness from paediatric eye disease in Australia, highlighting the significant challenges faced by individuals and families affected by childhood blindness, and subsequent economic impacts more broadly