Envision’s leadership on vision outreach results in greater statewide eye health emphasis

Jennifer Brantley, PhD - Aug 31, 2018

Tags: Education    Outreach    Public   
In one year, an ad hoc committee of the Envision-supported Kansas Vision Coalition Task Force accomplished something that hadn’t been attempted in 14 years: Revise the State of Kansas Vision Screening Guidelines.
 
Working in partnership with the Kansas School Nurse Organization and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the multidisciplinary team of committee members used evidence-based strategies supported by national organizations such as the American Optometric Association, National Association of School Nurses, National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus to update screening guidelines, drawing on a standardized model of care in all 105 Kansas counties and 309 school districts. Emphasis will be placed on early detection and timely treatment of vision challenges in children from birth to age 5 and students in elementary through high school.
 
The new guidelines are expected to be released next summer. Additionally, the Kansas Vision Coalition Task Force is moving forward to create a vision resource website and update current state of Kansas legislation to require eye exams before entering kindergarten.
 
Such monumental achievements would not have been possible without Envision’s Public Education strategic goals to identify and connect various organizations that perform vision education and screening to establish effective multidisciplinary processes and encourage transparency and collaboration. Hosting the first-ever Kansas Vision Summit in September 2017 in Wichita and inviting vision health professionals from around the state to attend was the first step. The resulting efforts of the Kansas Vision Coalition and its Task Force – chaired by Heather Hogan, senior vice president Foundation and Mission Services at Envision – grew from there.
 
The Kansas Vision Coalition’s overreaching goal is to streamline services to ensure that all Kansans receive timely vision care and have access to a resource network. The coalition is currently working toward:
  • Identifying priority areas and gaps in vision assessment, education and outreach processes targeting all populations throughout Kansas;
  • Providing a pathway of health policy change to increase understanding and perception of vision loss in the state of Kansas and propose bills for legislative review focused on vision health, provision of resources and standards of care as they relate to visual assessment;
  • Creating a low vision resource network for Kansans.
On September 19, Envision’s Public Education Department will host the 2nd Annual Kansas Vision Summit, which will once again bring together various organizations involved in vision outreach. Kira Baldonado, vice president of public health and policy for Prevent Blindness in Chicago, will be the keynote speaker. Ms. Baldonado was one of the primary authors of the revised Kansas Vision Screening Guidelines, along with me and my fellow ad hoc committee members.
 
Attendees will also have an opportunity to learn about the accomplishments of the Task Force in its first year and then review gaps and/or duplicate initiatives. Ultimately, a revised action plan for year two will be developed to provide a framework for a Task Force action plan to ensure comprehensive vision care outreach for all of Kansas.
 
Anyone who would like to learn more about our Public Education strategic priorities or the Kansas Vision Coalition should contact Jennifer Brantley at jennifer.brantley@envisionus.com or 316-440-1532.