Former Optometry Australia president Mr Darrell Baker has been elected as an Australian College of Optometry (ACO) council member for the first time, while president Mr Rodney Hodge and Ms Sophie Koh have been reappointed for a further two-year term.
It comes after the ACO and National Vision Research Institute (NVRI) held its Annual General Meeting on Monday 30 May when members and others from the profession were also recognised for their contribution to optometry.
The AGM was held as a virtual event for the third time and was the first for recently appointed CEO Mr Pete Haydon.
Baker, a Perth based optometrist with experience in corporate governance, said it was “an honour and privilege” to have been elected on to the ACO Council comprising optometrists and other professionals who provide strategic oversight.
“I’m excited to become engaged in a parallel facet of optometry, namely public health and research, having recently served on the board of Optometry Australia,” he said.
“I hope to bring my experience in advocacy, strategy and relationships in that part of the industry to the leadership team, and look forward to continued contribution to the profession and community. This will be a significant learning experience for me, and I look forward to the challenge, but in the comfort of what I can see is a talented and committed staff and council.”
Hodge, the re-appointed ACO president and council member, added: “I’m delighted that the membership has delivered a broad diversity of people to our governance body. I am pleased to be part of the of the diversity of the ACO council. I am confident that I can and will contribute in a meaningful way to the delivery of the aspirational goals of our organisation.”
Koh, a reappointed council member, said the ACO Council needed to reflect the diversity of the optometry workforce and the communities it serves.
“I encourage existing and potential ACO members to seek out council nomination, as I did. You have the opportunity to make a real impact on the future direction of the ACO,” she said.
Several ACO members and other professionals were also honoured at the AGM. The full list of award winners were:
ACO Member Award for Outstanding Service
The ACO Member Award for Outstanding Services is awarded to members who have made exceptional contributions to the ACO. This is a peer nominated award.
Awarded to Colin Bates
National Vision Research Institute Fellowship
Researchers who have made a significant contribution to the practice and profession of vision science and are held in high esteem. This is a peer nominated award.
Awarded to Professor Nathan Efron AC
Members who have made a significant contribution to the practice and profession of optometry and to the community. Fellows are held in high esteem within the profession.
Awarded to Dr Zhichao Wu
Nicola Family Travel Grant
This grant supports young professionals as they begin their career in vision research.
Awarded to Jordan Siberras
ACO Outstanding University Graduate Award
Australian Universities are invited to nominate their most outstanding optometry graduate through combined evaluation of academic excellence and professional commitment. Awarded to:
- Deakin University: Madeline Baker
- Flinders University: Eilish Devlin
- University of Melbourne: Jessica Atme
- UNSW Sydney: Ayman Saleh Moussa
- Queensland University of Technology: Kristin Parker
Outstanding Graduate Award for ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics
This award is granted in recognition of the candidate who has achieved the highest score across all assessments for their graduating year of the ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics.
Awarded to Rachel Smeal
The ACO 2021’s Annual Report was also launched during the AGM and can be viewed here.