Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your holidays were special and this year brings renewed focus on those things that bring you joy. For the Vision Impact Institute (VII), 2017 promises to be another exciting year, as we continue to drive awareness for healthy vision and advocate for change around the world.
There are some exciting happenings within the organization, and we are thrilled to share that more than 2,000 of you are now engaging with the VII on a regular basis. This is a growth of more than 400% in subscribers over the past two years, and we are dedicated to continuing to bring you quality data and support for years to come. In December, we added more than 30 studies on the impact of uncorrected refractive error (URE) on children. These studies were identified as part of a systematic review conducted by the African Vision Research Institute that we look forward to sharing with you in the coming months.
Also coming soon, you will have an opportunity to visit a new Advocacy tab on the website. This tab will highlight major initiatives undertaken on a global scale. Working in regions around the world to effectuate change on behalf of healthy vision, the VII is dedicated to bolstering the conversation around vision health and encouraging those changes needed to make vision a priority. It is an uphill climb, but we are making a difference in places like India, UK, France, Africa, China and the United States.
Additionally, after more than two years of serving as President of the Vision Impact Institute, I have made the decision to accept a new role at Essilor of America. During these two years, the Vision Impact Institute has grown in so many ways, including expanding our presence in India with the addition of a dedicated VII advocacy coordinator and globally by adding ten steering committees. We have built a unique platform to share more than 200 studies in four languages to meet the needs of key geographies. It has been a true honor and a privilege to grow the VII through partnerships with so many of you and your organizations. I’m proud of the good work we have done together to change the way the world thinks about vision.
In light of this decision, I would like to introduce you to Kristan Gross, who will serve as the global executive director for VII. Kristan has worked alongside me these past two years in the role of director of global content and communications and is no stranger to the vision industry. Most recently, she has been responsible for the messaging, research and media surrounding the VII. Over the next few months, she will be rounding out the global VII team, and I know she is capable of and completely dedicated to taking the VII to its next level.
As I close out this final blog, I say a heartfelt thank you for your engagement with me personally and with this organization. Your partnership and camaraderie have been invaluable. Today, we all know healthy vision is undervalued in our world, but I encourage each of you to keep climbing that hill as together we all continue Giving Vision a Voice!