As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we want to take a moment to recognise the serious public health risk of the pandemic for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities and the fundamental importance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be involved in and lead the community response to this situation. We commend and wish everyone well in their work and the challenges confronting us all.
Dear Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 Conference Delegate,
I am writing to provide an important update regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the 'Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: The Gap and Beyond - National Conference 2020' to be held in Adelaide on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 March 2020.
Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) at The University of Melbourne and the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA) have made the very difficult decision this afternoon to postpone the upcoming Close the Gap for Vision conference.
The health and safety of our delegates, conference attendees and all of our stakeholders is our highest priority and we have been closely monitoring the publicly available information provided from the Australian and State and Territory Governments. We have been further informed by the consideration of the particular risk identified to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities that we serve.
While significant community transmission of COVID-19 at this time is not occurring in Australia, social distancing measures, such as the cancellation of a public event like the conference, is an appropriate and proportionate response to the risk of increasing transmission. This is especially true as many of the conference delegates work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations and communities. A key consideration for the Indigenous eye care sector is to also ensure the availability of the health workforce. The inadvertent removal of workforce for a period of self-quarantining post the conference is a major risk and would have significant consequences.
We do regret having to make this decision and the relatively late notice. The situation is evolving quite rapidly and we hope to be able to reschedule the conference later in the year.
IEH recognises the hard work and time that many people will have put into preparing for and contributing to the conference. We also acknowledge the inconvenience and logistical challenges that this decision will impose on our colleagues and stakeholders. We sincerely apologise for the impact this decision may cause and thank you all for your understanding and support.
IEH will be in contact with all delegates to arrange a full refund of all registration costs and will keep you informed about our future conference plans.
Professor Hugh R Taylor AC
MD, LLD(Hons), FAHMS, FRANZCO
Melbourne Laureate Professor, Harold Mitchell Professor of Indigenous Eye Health
If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at Indigenous-EyeHealth@unimelb.edu.au or contact IEH staff Nick Wilson (email@example.com; 03 8344 8675), Rachael Ferguson (firstname.lastname@example.org; 03 9035 8243) or Guy Gillor (email@example.com)
Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) at the University of Melbourne and co-host Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA) are pleased to invite you to register for the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: The Gap and Beyond National Conference 2020 which will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 March 2020 in Adelaide, South Australia. This conference is also supported by our partners Optometry Australia, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and Vision 2020 Australia.
The 2020 conference provides opportunity to highlight the shared progress and advances being made in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health. It will explore successes and achievements being made to close the gap for vision by 2020 and the opportunities to sustain and continue this progress towards the elimination of avoidable blindness and vision loss by 2025. The conference will include plenary speakers, panel discussions and presentations as well as workshops and cultural experiences.
Who should attend?
The conference is designed to bring people together and connect people involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care from local communities, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, health services, non-government organisations, professional bodies and government departments from across the country. We would like to invite everyone who is working on or interested in improving eye health and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Conference Dinner, 2020 Leaky Pipe Awards and Eyes in Action
The Conference Dinner, including the 2020 Leaky Pipe Awards, is scheduled in the evening of the first day of the conference, Wednesday 18 March, 6.30pm onwards at The Playford Adelaide Hotel (120 North Terrace, Adelaide SA).
The Eyes in Action photography competition will again be held during the conference– see opening and closing dates below.
Please watch the Conference updates for additional information.
Call for abstracts
The 2020 Close the Gap for Vision National Conference includes opportunities for delegates to present papers related to their efforts to improve eye health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Papers can be presented in a number of formats:
- Oral presentations: up to 20 minute podium talk;
- Table Top presentations: no more than 10 minutes to be presented multiple times to a small audience;
- Workshops: up to 90 minutes to be presented to no more than 60 people; and
- Poster presentations: for display during the conference.
Abstract submission instructions:
- Please submit an abstract of up to 200 words, and a title;
- Please include a short bio for each presenting author (no more than 50 words). Preference will be given to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander presenters;
- Please indicate whether you prefer to deliver your paper as an oral presentation, a table top presentation, a workshop or a poster. Please note that there are limited spaces available for each type of presentation, and organisers reserve the right to accept a proposed presentation in a different format than proposed by the authors;
- The deadline for abstracts is 17 January 2020.
If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at Indigenous-EyeHealth@unimelb.edu.au or contact IEH staff Guy Gillor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nick Wilson (email@example.com; 03 8344 8675)