Lecturer appointed as Public Health lead for British and Irish Orthoptic Society

Jignasa Mehta, a research training fellow from the University’s Directorate of Orthoptics and Vision Science, has been appointed as the Public Health Lead for the British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS) in recognition of her continuous work in the field of Orthoptics and her research on ‘Vision and Falls in the Elderly’.

The Directorate of Orthoptics is the innovative, expert group responsible for the University’s Orthoptics education, training and research. Jignasa Mehta was awarded a prestigious research fellowship from the Dunhill Medial Trust in October 2016 to determine the impact of visual impairment on falls in the elderly. It was following this opportunity and her collaborative work with ophthalmic partners and the Royal College of Physicians to develop the ‘Bedside Vison Check’ to reduce the risk of inpatient falls that she was appointed Public Health lead for BIOS.

1,500 Orthoptists

Founded in 1937 BIOS is a professional and educational body for the UK and Republic of Ireland representing Orthoptists. There are around 1,500 Orthoptists in Britain and Ireland; its all-graduate workforce comes from three universities – University of Liverpool, University of Sheffield and Glasgow Caledonian University. They provide Orthoptists for all four UK countries and the Republic of Ireland.

This new role has been developed by the BIOS to support the contribution that orthoptists can bring to Public Health and also promote and embed the Public Health agenda within the existing and emerging orthoptic workforce.

Promoting better health

Of BIOS and her work on behalf of the professional body Jignasa, said: “I am honoured and delighted to accept the position of Public Health lead for the Society. As part of my new role as well as promoting the importance of vision in falls, I am keen to ensure we work towards provision of an equitable national orthoptic led vision screening programme to give every child a healthy start.

“I am developing a scheme that will see orthoptists become public health champions within their trusts to support the Allied Health Professionals public health agenda which includes health promotion, prevention and helping to reduce health inequalities. Together with BIOS we have developed orthoptic specific videos to support clinicians to Make Every Contact Count (MECC) to help patients think about making behavioural changes to their lifestyle to improve health and prevent further illnesses.

“I look forward to playing a dynamic part in the Public Health agenda of BIOS over the next three years and promoting better health for all!”

For more information about The British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS) please visit: www.orthoptics.org.uk

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