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The Indigenous Committee was formed in 1995 under the original name of Indigenous and Rural Health and supports RANZCO's vision for all people to have equal access to quality eye care services, regardless of their ethnicity or geographical location. The current Indigenous Committee Chair and Co-Chair are Dr Ashish Agar and Associate Professor Angus Turner.
Through its Indigenous Committee, RANZCO participates in programs to improve the eye care for Indigenous peoples and those living in rural and remote regions of Australia and New Zealand.
The Committee is a standing committee of the College and acknowledges eye health disadvantage in certain groups, particularly indigenous Australians and New Zealanders. Poor access to health care has resulted from differing historical and cultural legacies. Committee members will strive for equity of eye health outcomes and equal access to health care independent of background.
The purpose of the Indigenous Committee is to:
Initiate, participate in and advise on Board approved College initiatives to help 'close the gap'1 in eye health in Australia and New Zealand.
Promote awareness of and strategies to overcome cultural barriers in the provision of quality eye care to Indigenous populations in urban, regional and remote areas.
Draft and/or review College policy on issues related to the eye health of Indigenous communities.
Advocate for and advise the Board and the Qualification and Education Committee (QEC) on strategies and opportunities to create and cultivate an interest in Indigenous eye care amongst trainees and Fellows.
Provide an opportunity for dialogue between College members and other stakeholders about clinical, administrative, and political concerns that may bear on the provision of eye care to Indigenous communities.
Encourage the sharing of knowledge and expertise, and the dissemination of information, to help ensure the delivery of the highest possible standards of eye care to Indigenous communities.
Advise on and where possible, facilitate the acquisition of any specific competencies and skills required for the delivery of eye care to Indigenous communities.
1 is a formal commitment developed in response to the call of the Social Justice Report 2005 to achieve Indigenous health equality within 25 years.
For more information please contact Adam Kiernan firstname.lastname@example.org, Manager: E-Learning and Indigenous Health.
Every year across Australia, National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is celebrated between 27 May and 3 June. These dates also mark the anniversaries of two very significant events in Australia's journey towards reconciliation. The anniversary of the 1967 referendum – in which more than 90% of Australians voted to have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples recognised in the national census, and the anniversary of the landmark Mabo decision – which legally recognised the special relationship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have to the land, and paved the way for Native Title land rights.
Dr Hessom Razavi is a RANZCO Fellow who has spent 12 months in rural and Indigenous communities in outback Western Australia. This short film titled 'Kimberley Light' captures his unique experience as an 'outback ophthalmologist' and is truly inspiring. Video by Joos Meyer