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Mitchell Anjou Awarded AM

image Mitchell Anjou became a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours list for 2013 for his services to optometry and public health, particularly for his role in bringing eye care services to the indigenous community. Mitchell completed his degree in optometry at the University of Melbourne in 1982 and subsequently obtained a Masters degree for research done at the National Vision Research Institute of Australia.

After two years overseas, he returned to Melbourne to take up a position as staff optometrist in the Melbourne Optometry Clinic in the Australian College of Optometry. He was appointed Director of the Clinic in 1988 and was also co-ordinator of the clinical school for the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences in the University of Melbourne. As Director of the Optometry Clinic of the Australian College of Optometry, he led an extraordinary expansion of the scope and reach of the clinic's services. The number of patients seen in the clinic and the number of services provided doubled during his tenure to provide over 50,000 services for more than 35,000 patients each year. The Clinic set up three new regional clinics in Community Health Centres in low socio-economic outer suburbs of Melbourne and the two existing ones expanded their capacity. An optometry clinic was set up in the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service in 1997 and over the next few years, optometric services were brought to other rural and metropolitan Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations.

A network of low vision clinics was established through Victoria in partnership with Vision Australia, including a special clinic to provide eye care for children with severe disability. The Homeless Persons Eye Care program using a mobile consulting room was established in 2010. A three-year clinical residency program for newly graduated optometrists was set up in 1998 and some 45 optometrists have passed through that program in the ensuing years.

Mitchell Anjou is greatly respected for the support he provided to young optometrists and the way in which he inculcated the highest professional values. Equally he is respected for his commitment to developing optometry's role in public health. He was one of the founders of the public health optometry group established in 2011. He resigned as Director of the ACO clinic in 2010 to take up appointment as a Senior Research Fellow in the Indigenous Eye Health Unit in the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne, where he continues to pursue his passion for public health ventures.

Dr William Trinh Receives the Josef Lederer Award

image Dr William Trinh was the recipient of the Josef Lederer award for 2012. The award commemorates Professor Josef Lederer, who was the foundation professor of optometry at the University of New South Wales. The award is made by the NSW Division of Optometrists Association Australia to recognize excellence in optometry. Dr Trinh practises in Cabramatta in NSW and is a clinical instructor at the University of New South Wales. The award was made for his work in community optometry both in Australia and overseas. He has been a leader in the Vietnam Vision Project and is a member of its Board of Directors. The project started 10 years ago and has brought ophthalmological and optometric care to many thousands of poor rural Vietnamese over the last decade.

NVRI Adds to Its Research Team

image Dr Adam Morris has joined the research team at the National Vision Research Institute of Australia. He holds a prestigious C J Martin Fellowship awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and has chosen to pursue his research under the fellowship at the NVRI. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at Rutgers University, New Jersey working with Professor Bart Krekelberg for five years. His research explores the neural mechanism by which the brain organises raw retinal information into a meaningful and stable view of the world. His work goes to understanding higher level perceptual abilities, such as object localisation and hand-eye co-ordination and will advance our understanding of a host of nervous system dysfunctions, including schizophrenia, stroke and paraplegia.

Optometry at Flinders University Builds Its Academic Staff

image Flinders University in South Australia launched its optometric course in 2010 and commenced teaching the fourth year of the five-year course in 2013. It is progressively building its academic staff. Dr David Hammond is the most recent appointment. Dr Hammond qualified in optometry at the Queensland University of Technology in 2008 but had previously completed a PhD degree in molecular biology. He practised optometry before taking up a clinician researcher position in the School of Optometry at the University of California, Berkeley, where he collaborated with Professor Christine Wildsoet to investigate molecular mechanisms of ocular growth regulation. He was awarded a Fight for Sight Fellowship 2010 to study the role that insulin-like growth factors play in ocular growth. Dr Hammond also has a keen interest in teaching methodology, in particular computer-aided learning technologies. He has commenced a research program at Flinders University into the most effective ways to use computer-aided instruction in optometric education.