240291 Let us help you see the world better: Lessons learned from vision partnership in Houston, Texas

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sheila Savannah, MA , Health and Human Services, City of Houston, Houston, TX
Vishnu Nepal, MSc, MPH , Office of Health Planning, Evaluation and Program Development, City of Houston, Health and Human Services, Houston, TX
Arnulfo Rosario Jr., MD, MPH , Health and Human Services / Neighborhood Services Division, City of Houston, Houston, TX
Jennifer Graves, BA , Health and Human Services /Neighborhood Services Division, City of Houston, Houston, TX
Deborah Banerjee, PhD, MS , Office of Surveillance and Public Health Preparedness, City of Houston Department of Health & Human Services, Houston, TX
Background Vision related problems among children can affect children's school performance. Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) fostered and implemented a collaborative project - Vision Partnership (VP) - to address the need, utilizing public-private partnership model. Key goal of the program was to provide free vision care services and eyewear to the School Children (6-18 yrs) who have unresolved referral for eye care.

Methods HDHHS built the program utilizing incidence command system (ICS) to manage and implement the activities and cultivated partnership with various school districts and communities. It uses a site based client flow model to provide high volume walk through services. Community residents, students, OneSight staff and volunteers, and HDHHS staff volunteered to execute the program.

Results In the last four years, the project conducted 5 events, each one to two weeks long, providing extensive vision care services to a total of 10,096 children from 291 schools representing 10 school districts. Of those served, 87 % were provided with needed eyewear. A high proportion of the children received the needed eyewear produced on-site. Children identified with a need of further services were referred to the ophthalmologist.

Lessons learned ICS can be used to effectively manage the high volume walk through type events to provide health care services. Receiving needed cooperation from the school districts and communities hinges upon the level of buy-in created. Effective training to the volunteers is needed to ensure efficiency of the program. Vision care services were considered critical to school performance.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Basic medical science applied in public health

Learning Objectives:
• Discuss the ways partnership was developed and fostered to provide vision care services to the maximum number of school children, • Explain how ICS can be used to effectively operate such programs, • Describe the importance of school’s role in achieving the goals and measuring outcomes, • Define the key issues that must be considered to effectively replicate the program in other contexts.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Bureau Chief for Human Services, I have over 25 years experience in development and administration of community health and human service interventions. The Vision Partnership is being developed and implemented with technical assistance from the HDHHS Human Services Bureau.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.