Addressing Public Health

While the world was going through a very uncertain time in early 2020, myself included, I did feel certain that I was ready to transfer my medical academia skills in the hospital setting back into the public health setting.

In May 2020, I found the perfect opportunity at Prevent Blindness, a national eye health and safety organization dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight, to get back to my roots of social work and public health by further addressing health disparities and social determinants of health.

Although we were still going through an unprecedented time, I was excited to contribute and expand my skills in this new role by continuing to advocate for individuals and communities to feel empowered, supported and understood throughout their vision health journey.

About Prevent Blindness

At Prevent Blindness, we are a public health advocacy organization. Since 1908, we continuously work towards our mission of advancing vision and eye health equity and access and carry out the critical role as a convener of national experts on vision health, research, patient perspectives and public health, while collaborating with community, state and national stakeholders. We’re dedicated to advocating, educating, and intervening to eliminate the burdens that individuals in this community often face.

We have a number of programs and resources to support the community, including our Art Therapy Program, Living Well With Low Vision Resource, Healthy Eyes Educational Series and the Star Pupils Eye Health and Safety Curriculum from our National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness. We offer a vast library of resources, including infographics, PowerPoint presentations, toolkits and much more, that provide free educational materials on specific topics.

As we continue to evolve as an organization and expand our programs, we are proud to offer the ASPECT (Advocacy, Support, Perspective, Empowerment, Communication and Training) Patient-Engagement Program for individuals with vision impairment and/or blindness, as well as allies such as loved ones, nonprofit representatives, clinicians, and researchers. Our goal is to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to become advocates for vision and eye health at the individual, peer-to-peer, community, state, and national levels.

Who is Eligible to Apply for ASPECT?

Individuals of all ages (including family members of children younger than age 18), with any eye disease/condition, residing anywhere across the nation and globally. Classes are free and held virtually every other week for 8 sessions total from June – September and November – March.

Each meeting is 2 hours and designed to build advocacy skills, knowledge, communication techniques and to increase awareness of eye conditions other than their own. We also dive into components of storytelling as an advocacy tool, learning about patient engagement and its importance, developing a community by connecting with other participants and building leadership skills.

One of the most impactful parts of the program is when the participants are able to put their skills to work, such as through our annual Eyes on Capitol Hill patient advocacy day, or through a variety of other engagement opportunities that are offered to the participants. That is when they realize the true power of their story.

To learn more or to apply to be a part of ASPECT, visit our website or contact me at if you are not able to complete the application online.

Your Community is There

No matter where you are in your journey, there are people out there who can understand and relate to you. The feeling of having a community and connection is essential and my hope is that we continue to create a change and to make incredible strides in this community, no matter where they may be in their healthcare journey.

So, as the world returns to ‘normal’, I think back to a time when we didn’t know what new challenges were next and I found myself in a new role amidst it all. It’s been an honor and privilege to get to do this work and one of the most life-affirming things I get to do.

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