Andrew Collins recently attended the Heads of School, and Optometry Regulatory Reference Group meetings held in Melbourne on behalf of the School of Optometry and Vision Science. A key item of discussion for both meetings was the topic of cultural competency [safety] teaching and learning within the curriculum of the various programs and the ongoing requirements for continuing education in this area within the profession. For example, the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand (OCANZ) Accreditation Standards require that “cultural competence is appropriately integrated within the program and clearly articulated as required disciplinary learning outcomes: including an emphasis on Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Māori and Pasifika cultures”.
In response, an OCANZ working group, which included Andrew as a member, has adapted the Australian Department of Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework with regard to optometric education. Several of the school’s staff members will attend the launch of the OCANZ Framework at a workshop in Melbourne in late November.
In due course, and with appropriate consultation, a similar framework is likely to be developed to address Maori and Pasifika cultural competency in optometry.