HEHP state grant touches lives of Oklahoma children

November 30, 2012

From left, Ruthie Ruan, O.D., Circle of Life Eyecare Center; Susie Killingsworth, RN, president-elect of School Nurse Organization of Oklahoma; and Georgene Westendorf, RN, Health Services coordinator of Putnam City Schools/SNOO representative to National Association of School Nurses Board of Directors.

Optometry Cares® – The AOA Foundation awarded 17 Healthy Eyes Healthy People® (HEHP) State Grants in 2012. Oklahoma’s Ruthie Ruan, O.D., received an HEHP grant for her project to reduce visual impairment in children and adolescents.

The project focuses on increasing the public’s understanding of the difference between vision screenings and comprehensive eye exams. It emphasizes the importance of comprehensive eye exams for school-age children.

The limitations of vision screenings provided in most public schools often leave many vision problems undetected.

Parents often mistakenly think vision screening is an eye exam, and therefore do not take their children to eye care professionals for a comprehensive exam if they pass the screening.

The project partners with the Putnam City Schools to help parents understand the critical difference between vision screenings and eye exams, and the importance of comprehensive eye exams. This project has touched the lives of more than 9,000 people.

Optometry Cares® – The AOA Foundation, with the support of Luxottica, improves and promotes the visual health of the nation through its HEHP State Grants program.

The HEHP program promotes partnerships between optometrists, government agencies and health care advocates to expand approaches for community outreach by awarding grants to foster programs that address eye and visual health objectives set forth in Healthy People 2020.

Each awardee receives a one year grant up to a maximum of $5,000.

Any optometrists may apply through their state optometric association, which must officially submit the application.

Each state optometric association, through its appointed HEHP state consultant, helps to create interest in the HEHP program.

Collaborations with other state health associations and/or public agencies must reflect broad-based sponsorship and letters of support from collaborators/ participating organizations are required.

The AOA Foundation’s Community Grants Committee evaluates each application and selects and awards the funding.

Without Luxottica’s ongoing support of this program, important work like Dr. Ruan’s could not be accomplished.

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