Glaucoma Australia is pleased to announce Associate Professor Simon Skalicky is assuming the role of President of Glaucoma Australia, and celebrates the achievements of outgoing President Mr Ron Spithill, OAM.
A/Prof Skalicky is following Mr Spithill who has served Glaucoma Australia as a councillor for 10 years including the past four as President. At the recent Board meeting Mr Spithill shared “It has been a great honour to work with colleagues on the Glaucoma Australia Council, our CEO Annie Gibbins and her very dedicated team. In recent years we have seen glaucoma detection and referrals grow significantly and I am convinced that blindness due to glaucoma can be greatly reduced by our collaborative programs.”
Mr Spithill added “I expect that under the expert leadership of Simon Skalicky, the next decade will see reduced glaucoma blindness in Australians”. Mr Spithill also paid a special tribute to Glaucoma Australia’s co-founder, Clinical Prof Ivan Goldberg who continues to inspire our efforts as a Life Governor of Glaucoma Australia.
Simon’s involvement with Glaucoma Australia began in 2014, when he joined the Glaucoma Australia Ophthalmology Committee. Using his research skills in quality of life in glaucoma he lead a multicentre Australia-wide randomised clinical trial evaluating the impact of Glaucoma Australia education for newly diagnosed glaucoma patients. In 2016 Simon became Chair of the Ophthalmology Committee and joined the Glaucoma Australia Council. He was instrumental in establishing the Glaucoma Australia Research Grants, and in co-ordinating the Glaucoma Australia involvement in the Medicare submission for MIGS. A strong supporter of glaucoma awareness activities such as World Glaucoma Week, Simon actively promotes collaborative care between ophthalmology and optometry. He has worked closely with colleagues in optometry to establish the Glaucoma Australia Patient Referral Pathway and integrate Glaucoma Australia services with online referral platform Oculo, enhancing digital referral of new glaucoma patients to Glaucoma Australia services. He helped organise the successful Glaucoma Australia Patient Symposium at the World Glaucoma Congress in Melbourne 2019.
Simon will be assisted by a new Councillor, Rowan McMonnies, who has taken the role of Vice President. Rowan has a commercial and legal background and is currently Managing Director of the research and marketing body for Australian Eggs. Rowan will support Simon in guiding the development of governance arrangements that reflect Glaucoma Australia’s growth and impact as well as helping to ensure the reach and influence of Glaucoma Australia remains broader than clinical networks.
“This is an exciting time for Glaucoma Australia,” says Simon. “As we have moved digitally, we are connecting with more glaucoma patients and their families, as well as health professionals. Digitally integrating the support services of Glaucoma Australia through online referral pathways ensures greater support is provided to people with glaucoma at every step along the journey, in metropolitan, rural and regional Australia. Patients are joining our online community and benefitting from our regular newsletters and online community support and events.
“Through our network of dedicated individuals involved in Glaucoma Australia: clinical, research and governance committees, council members and our wonderful executive, we are lucky to have a highly motivated team that brings diverse skills, enthusiasm and experience to our organisation.
“There is much more work to be done. More can be done to promote glaucoma awareness, to achieve our goal of detecting glaucoma earlier, and finding the 100,000 -150,000 Australians who are unaware they have glaucoma. Fostering early diagnosis through optometric practice is the key. By supporting and promoting great Australian glaucoma research we can hopefully encourage further research funding to improve outcomes for people with glaucoma. We need to learn how to measure the impact of our patient support and refine this service over time. Ideally we aim to integrate our service better with health care providers to enhance the likelihood that patients access our resources and community support, which in turn motivates long-term adherence to medication and monitoring for glaucoma. We would like to foster closer integration and communication between the multidisciplinary players who care for patients with glaucoma: ophthalmology, optometry, pharmacy, and people with glaucoma. Digital and/or social media platforms are novel ways to achieve this.”
Simon is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne and Centre for Eye Research Australia. He serves on various committees for the World Glaucoma Association. He works as a glaucoma specialist at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Glaucoma Unit and privately at Eye Surgery Associates, Melbourne.
For more information
CEO glaucoma Australia
(02) 9411 7722
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