On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, the University community welcomed the president-elect of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), Dr. Uduak Udom of Nigeria, who is a current Salus MPH student. While in Elkins Park, Dr. Udom will deliver a presentation to students and faculty and meet with President Mittelman and Dr. Janice Scharre, University provost.
Uduak Udom, BSc, OD, FNCO, FAAO, became president of the African Council of Optometry (AFCO) in October 2008 and served in that position for four years. In 2010, she became the first optometrist in the UK Commonwealth’s 50-year history to be awarded a UK Commonwealth Professional Fellowship in a professional development program.
After leaving the presidency of the African Council of Optometry, Dr. Udom was nominated and ran unopposed for the position of president-elect of the World Council of Optometry (WCO) in April 2013. Her desire is to work with the WCO team to drive programs that develop the public health relevance of optometry around the world. Dr. Udom credits a Salus gerontology course with “opening her eyes,” and she is determined to join in the crusade to advocate for better care for the elderly - particularly in the developing nations - whenever and wherever she has the opportunity.
Dr. Udom will be inducted as President of the World Council of Optometry at the national meeting scheduled to be held in Columbia, South America in August 2015.
Highlights of achievements of the AFCO Executive Council under Dr. Udak’s leadership include:
- Establishment of the tradition of holding leadership workshops, Special Olympics and other vision screenings during AFCO annual conferences.
- Revision of the AFCO mission statement to reflect the Public Health relevance of Optometry. (This was also adopted at the AGM (African General Meeting) in August 2009).
- AFCO representatives have participated in the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness regional meetings since 2009.
- The institution of workshops for new standing committee members of the AFCO AGM was begun in 2010.
- Launch of the AFCO website in November 2010, featuring news, online CPD and a discussion forum, among other features.
- Review of the AFCO Constitution between September and December 2010, with ratification during the AGM in August 2011.
- The signing of an MOU between AFCO and Salus University for public health academic programs which resulted in many AFCO members being awarded partial scholarships to earn an MPH degree online from Salus University.
- The institution of a master’s degree in Clinical Optometry following a meeting between AFCO, a representative of the Health Minister in Ethiopia, and the administration of the University of Gondar, Ethiopia in August 2011. AFCO assisted with faculty recruitment for this program. All optometrists in the country were absorbed into public service and posted to District Hospitals.
- Community Eye Health workshops conducted for eyecare professionals by AFCO, as well as the Nigerian Optometric Association Public Health Committees.
- Dr. Udom’s advocacy and participation in the National Eye Care program in Mozambique in March 2011 in support of a plan for the future of optometry in that country.