A new three-year strategic plan adopted by Orthoptics Australia emphasises connecting, strengthening, promoting and growing, writes newly elected president DR AMANDA FRENCH.
Orthoptics Australia (OA) held its 78th Annual Conference in Brisbane on the 29-30 October 2022. The highly successful event, run concurrently with the RANZCO Congress, saw a return to in-person meetings for the organisation and marks an important re-focusing on the future following the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the OA Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 29 October 2022, annual conference delegates welcomed myself as the newly elected president of the organisation.
As an orthoptist, senior academic and researcher in the Discipline of Orthoptics, Graduate School of Health at the University of Technology Sydney, I come to the role with a strong connection to the profession, and understanding of OA operations, having held positions within the organisation at both state and federal level for over a decade, including the role of OA vice president for the last three years.
I replace Ms Jane Schuller who had been OA president since the latter part of 2019, and who on stepping down will remain a member of the OA Board.
During this period, OA had successfully transitioned to a new governance structure as an association incorporated under the Commonwealth Corporations Act. However, the subsequent emergence of COVID-19 brought with it numerous other unpredicted challenges.
Jane’s leadership of OA during the pandemic was exceptional. She provided clear and supportive communication to members during a time of uncertainty and was integral in directing the organisation through challenges as they arose – an achievement for which Jane was awarded the Zoran Georgievski medal for service to the profession.
The OA Annual General Meeting was also the launch for OA’s new 2023 – 2026 Strategic Plan, following an extensive consultative process.
The OA Board worked with member representatives from all States and Territories and drew on feedback from stakeholders across the eyecare sector to identify current challenges, opportunities and our aspirations for growth and advancement. This allowed us to focus on defining our priorities for the next three years.
We have been through a period of establishing the renewed governance structure and operations of OA, as well as strengthening our membership value proposition. Now we are looking forward, to plan how we can achieve our vision of supporting orthoptists to provide excellence and equity in eye health care.
This vision places advancement of orthoptics and advocating for equity of access to best-quality eye health care for all communities across Australia at the heart of OA’s activities over the next three years.
Four key priorities were set out in the plan that emphasise connecting, strengthening, promoting and growing.
Our strategic priorities are about building a stronger orthoptic profession and connecting more broadly with the sector and the community to advocate for the value of orthoptics in the delivery of eye health care. We also have placed a focus on research and evidence to support our initiatives and expanded scope of practice.
My first task as incoming president will be to put this strategic plan into action, heralding a new chapter in the evolution of OA.
I am thrilled to be able to work with the OA Board and our volunteers and members to begin actioning initiatives that are aligned with our strategic priorities and that will progress us towards bringing the vision of our members to life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: New Orthoptics Australia president Amanda French is an orthoptist, senior academic and researcher in the Discipline of Orthoptics, Graduate School of Health at the University of Technology Sydney, and has held state and federal level positions within Orthoptics Australia over the past decade, including the role of vice president.