Eye Health Hero: Lauren Hutchinson

First published 7 October 2020

QUT Optometry alumna Lauren Hutchinson was recently named by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) as one of its Eye Health Heroes - Future Leaders for 2020.

Lauren is a Muruwari woman from Molong, central west NSW. She is the principle optometrist at a practice in country New South Wales, Australia, and a strong contributor to her local community as well as an emerging leader helping shape optometry and eye care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, nationally.

Lauren’s passion, her willingness to give to meet the eye care needs of her community and to shape the broader provision of eye care, as well as her abilities to work collaboratively, to educate and to influence others, mark her as an outstanding emerging leader in eye care.

“What I love most about my role is just how rewarding it is to work with and to provide a service for your own community as well as the opportunity it provides to connect with so many people from other communities. Making these genuine connections and seeing the positive impact you can make on the lives of the people you care so much about and become so close to is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I will count myself extremely lucky if I get to spend the rest of my life doing what I do.”

– Lauren Hutchinson

Lauren is extremely passionate about rural and Indigenous eye care and addressing the health needs of her people. This passion is borne out in her commitment to her local communities. As well as in-practice care, Lauren delivers services through her local Aboriginal Medical Service, and offers outreach clinics to small communities across the central west region of New South Wales. She also works closely with the Aboriginal Education Officers at a number of primary and secondary schools across the region to deliver culturally safe eye services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Lauren is also a contributor on state-wide and national advisory groups, where she is emerging as a future leader within the profession and a strong advocate for ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have ready access to culturally safe eye care. Lauren is a member of the Early Career Optometrists NSW/ACT Committee, which provides support, education and leadership for early committee optometrists. She is also a valued member of the national Optometry Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Advisory Committee. Lauren is also an active member of, and contributor to the work of, Indigenous Allied Health Australia

Lauren is also working to lead her profession in the provision of culturally safe practice, providing education on the topic to optometry students as a visiting fellow of Queensland University of Technology, and through a national webcast presentation for Optometry Australia’s members.

Republished with permission from the website of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). Original article.