Transitions Hosts Roundtable to Improve the Eye Health of Culturally Diverse Populations


PINELLAS PARK, Fla.—To improve eye health awareness and encourage regular eyecare among ethnic populations at greater risk for health problems that can lead to serious vision impairment, Transitions Optical hosted a roundtable discussion exploring a greater need for eyecare professionals to collaborate with other key influencers—such as general health professionals and health-based, community and cultural organizations—to provide enhanced consumer education.

Held in Miami July 14, the roundtable was attended by representatives who interact with at-risk consumers, including: Neyal Ammary-Risch, MPH, MCHES, director, National Eye Health Education Program, National Eye Institute; Mila and Jimmy Ferrer, bloggers and co-founders of “Familias con Diabetes”; Margo LaDrew,national board member, National Council of Negro Women and co-founder, Black Beauty Shop Program; Edwin Marshall, OD, MS, MPH, professor emeritus of optometry and former vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, Indiana University; Charlotte Parniawski, RN, MSN, CNE, nurse educator, Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing; Diane Sheehan, APRN, nurse practitioner, Northeast Medical Group, Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport; Dan Suarez, president-elect, National Association of Hispanic Nurses; and Vincent K. Young, MD, chairman, Division of Ophthalmology, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia.

Participants reviewed the overall health issues most common among culturally diverse groups—including Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans—and shared best practices and case studies for promoting eye health, among a wide range of challenges ranging from low patient awareness levels, to language barriers and cultural considerations for care. Following individual presentations, participants discussed strategies and steps for eyecare professionals to take toward improving collaboration with the general health care sector and cultural and health-based organizations.

“We hope that the discussions and next steps resulting from the roundtable will encourage more eyecare professionals to collaborate with other influencers—from primary care physicians and other health specialists, to respected organizations who are actively providing health information within local communities—as a way to not only grow their practices but also to improve the eye health of their own communities,” said Manuel Solis, marketing manager, trade and strategic retail accounts, Transitions Optical.

Key discussions and strategies presented during the roundtable will be published in a consensus paper, which will be made available in the coming months through