Globalization has become an important buzzword over the last couple of decades and nowhere has this concept been more apparent than in health care and higher education. Our world is becoming more interconnected every day, and many of our recent and upcoming activities here at the College help to illustrate how we’ve embraced this global paradigm.
As many of you know, Dr. Michael Heiberger stepped away from his role as director of international programs this past summer as he prepares for retirement. As a result, our international programs were folded into what is now called the Office of Student Affairs and International Programs division under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Philpott. One of our goals for this realignment was to help foster a closer connection between our current and future students and the international opportunities that are available to them. In turn, this realignment will also help us in our recruitment efforts of promising international students as well.
But the College’s international focus goes beyond just our international programs. This Thursday, October 10, our institution will be celebrating World Sight Day 2013. This year the organization that sponsors this important event, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, has emphasized a global theme that is based around the concept of universal eye health. Earlier this year the World Health Organization launched an action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment around the world and World Sight Day 2013 is helping to raise awareness of this important subject in communities everywhere. This is a critical, global public health issue and I am pleased to see that our students, faculty and staff are taking such a large and active role in this initiative.
Later this month, at our marquee continuing education and alumni event Envision New York
, our Alumni Association will be honoring an individual who has spent a career advocating on behalf of important global health issues. Dr. Jillia Bird, a tireless advocate for glaucoma awareness, particularly in the Caribbean where she lives and practices, will receive the Alumna of the Year award. Dr. Bird’s public health activities are recognized around the world. Last spring the World Council of Optometry honored her with its International Optometrist of the Year award.
Our institution—set in one of the world’s most international cities—provides an environment that is quintessentially global, and I am pleased that we are fully embracing and celebrating such an important and vital element to the future of both health care and higher education.
David A. Heath, OD, EdM