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Photo: Domain Lodge (

On Tuesday 11 February SOVS clinicians attended a full-day annual retreat held at the Cancer Society’s Domain Lodge, next to the Grafton Campus.

A major focus for the discussions was cultural competency matters, including the move to accommodate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethnic groups within BOptom teaching, and development of the Māori framework. Academic Director Andrew Collins also gave a “Leaders in indigenous medical education” (LiME) presentation about providing solutions that address base rather than surface causes.

Professional Teaching Fellows (PTF) Bhavna Patel and Ashley Gray discussed improving patient communication. They are in the process of redeveloping paper-based information, such as clinic pamphlets, and are also working on multi-media communication options.

The two retreats held in 2019 resulted in fruitful discussion of best practice and the links between content of different courses, leading to a more streamlined approach to teaching optometry theory and clinical skills between the parts of the BOptom degree. The 2020 retreat held in February, and anticipated half-day follow-up session to be arranged for midyear, are similarly expected to lead to deepened understanding of the concepts discussed and real improvements for staff, students, and patients.