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Glaucoma Australia appoints new president

Maree obrien Glaucoma australia president

Glaucoma Australia (GA) has appointed Ms Maree O’Brien as its new president who will replace the outgoing Associate Professor Simon Skalicky who has served the charity organisation for the past seven years.

O’Brien joined GA through its ICT Committee in 2017, becoming chair of the committee and a member of the board in 2019. She is also a member of the audit and risk committees.

She has extensive experience in senior management and leadership roles with multinational technology and professional services companies. Her experience in organisational transformation is expected to assist GA as it further develops its digital strategy and future direction. Her career spans commercial, government and not-for-profit organisations, both internationally and in Australia.

“I have a strong family history of glaucoma and am committed to Glaucoma Australia’s mission to eliminate glaucoma blindness,” O’Brien said.

“As glaucoma is often referred to as the ‘silent thief of sight’ I am looking forward to working with the directors and CEO to increase awareness of glaucoma in the community and encourage people to have their eyes tested regularly.”

Skalicky’s involvement with GA began in 2014, when he joined the organisation’s Ophthalmology Committee. Using his research skills in quality of life in glaucoma he led a multicentre Australia-wide randomised clinical trial evaluating the impact of GA education for newly diagnosed glaucoma patients.

INXS band member Mr Kirk Pengilly, Governor-General Mr David Hurley with Glaucoma Australia’s CEO Ms Annie Gibbins and outgoing president Associate Professor Simon Skalicky.

In 2016 he became chair of the Ophthalmology Committee and joined the board, before being appointed president in 2019.

Following his recent departure from the board, Ms Annie Gibbins thanked Skalicky for his support in her role as GA CEO and commended him for his contributions, as well as his dedication to patient care and quality of life through education.

“Simon was instrumental in establishing the Glaucoma Australia Research Grants program, and in co-ordinating the Glaucoma Australia involvement in the Medicare submission for MIGS,” she said.

“He actively promotes collaborative care between ophthalmology and optometry and has worked closely with colleagues in optometry to establish the Glaucoma Australia Patient Referral Pathway and integrate Glaucoma Australia services with the online referral platform Oculo, enhancing digital referral of new glaucoma patients to the Glaucoma Australia service.”

During his term as president, Gibbins said Skalicky oversaw the growth of the organisation’s drive for primary eyecare glaucoma screening. This included welcoming Australian Governor-General Mr David Hurley as GA’s Patron and INXS band member Mr Kirk Pengilly as an ambassador, who both actively promote glaucoma awareness.

“We wish Simon every success as he devotes more time to his busy practice, research and young family … and we are extremely grateful for the time and expertise he has given to Glaucoma Australia,” Gibbins added.

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