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Australian Society of Ophthalmologists announces new president

The Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) has appointed Associate Professor Dr Ashish Agar as its new president, with his predecessor Dr Peter Sumich stepping into the role of vice-president.

Agar was appointed to lead the country’s peak medico-political ophthalmic body at its AGM on Wednesday 21 October. He has been an active member of the ASO since 2009, including the last three years as vice-president.

Agar is a glaucoma consultant and surgeon at the Prince of Wales and Sydney Eye hospitals, and a partner at Marsden Eye Specialists. He conducted his fellowship at Oxford and was awarded a PhD in his field.

At the AGM, attendees acknowledged “the substantial leadership and support” of Sumich who has served as president for the past three years.

“Under Peter’s guidance the ASO has continued to become increasingly influential in the healthcare landscape. He is an invaluable resource and I am delighted he has agreed to remain on the ASO Board in the role of vice-president,” Agar said.

In other areas, Agar teaches undergraduate medical students, registrar training and specialist education, including in overseas aid programs.

He is also conducts research in basic sciences, medical education, Indigenous health and new technologies, with an academic appointment at the University of New South Wales as a Conjoint Associate Professor in Ophthalmology.

Originally from regional NSW, he is director of ophthalmology at Broken Hill Hospital, a medical director of the Outback Eye Service based at Prince of Wales Hospital, co-chair and NSW lead of the Indigenous and Remote Eye Health Service (IRIS) program, member of the RANZCO NSW branch committee and chair of the RANZCO Indigenous committee.

As ASO president, Agar hopes to continue ensuring the independence of the profession. This includes countering moves to managed care and increasing awareness among medicine in general – and governments in particular – of ophthalmology’s role as an essential component of an effective health service, especially in the public sector.

Rural and remote practitioners and Indigenous Health will also be key focus, while the COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted concerns about doctor safety in the workplace which he plans to pay special attention to.

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