Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) is a student organization devoted to prevention and treatment of vision care needs in impoverished areas. The primary mission of SVOSH International is to facilitate the provision of vision care worldwide to people who can neither afford nor obtain such care.
Each year we take a week-long trip to Roatan, Honduras to provide eye exams to that community. Throughout the year, we organize fundraisers to raise money for the trip.
Mission Trip 2017 Honduras.
Mission Trip 2016 Honduras.
Mission Trip 2015 Honduras.
Mission Trip 2014 Honduras.
Mission Trip 2013 Honduras
VOSH Oklahoma Sends First Mission Team to Costa Rica in 2013
Oklahoma ODs, Debby Bezan (graduate of NSUOCO’s first graduating class in 1983), Debbie Murnan (NSUOCO 2008) and George Redwine participated in VOSH Oklahoma’s first international mission trip in July. They traveled to Costa Rica and saw patients in Tuetal, an impoverished village on the outskirts of Alajuela in the heart of coffee-growing country. The nine-member team was co-sponsored by Faith United Methodist Church of Tulsa in conjunction with Oklahoma Volunteers in Missions.
The optometry group set up a makeshift clinic in a carport and saw 135 patients during four morning sessions. In addition to providing eye care, the entire team also did construction on a church and conducted a vacation Bible school program for the local children. This was the seventh year Dr. Bezan had led a team to serve in this same community but the first year the trip had been affiliated with VOSH Oklahoma.
Dr. Murnan had previously participated in a number of medical mission trips to Mexico but had not been to Costa Rica before. She was excited to learn that she was going to be a member of VOSH Oklahoma’s first mission team. Dr. Redwine and his wife, Winnie signed up for the trip because it was something they always wanted to do. The entire team found the Costa Rican people to be friendly, gracious and appreciative of everything they were able to do in one short week. According to Dr. Redwine, "The trip exceeded my wildest dreams."
If you are interested in finding out more about VOSH Oklahoma, would like to participate in future mission trips or would like to become a supporting member, please contact Ken Merchant, President
or George Foster, (NSUOCO Dean Emeritus) Secretary/Treasurer
2008 OCO graduate Dr. Debbie Murnam examining a patient.
1986 OCO graduate and former professor Dr. Debbi Bezan having fun with a young participant.
Mission Trip 2012 Honduras.
NSUOCO students and doctors changed the lives of 900 patients in Honduras.
Mission Trip 2011 Honduras.
Mission Trip 2010 Guatamala.
The clinic was located on the Sarstun River (which borders Belize and Guatemala).
Mission Trip 2009 Honduras.
Members from an NSU team of two doctors and nine optometry students were able to help about 460 people during a four-day mission trip to Honduras.
Download PDF of Oct 2009 Reflections (containing this article)
Third World Whirlwind:
Honduras might seem a world away for some, but for Dr. Alissa Proctor, Northeastern State University associate professor in the College of Optometry, the third world country is just a summer memory away.
NSU Optometric Team Gives Back with Mission Trip
This summer, Proctor and optometry colleague Dr. Ashley Brooks, and a several students from the NSU College of Optometry participated in a mission trip to provide vision care to the residents of Roatan, Honduras. The team of two doctors and nine optometry students was able to help about 460 people during the four-day trip.
Students who participated with the mission trip included Candace Acord, Lori Barton, Jamie Dunn, Ryan Emrick, Sarah Gallagher, Phil lip Tabor, Summer Hilton, Lindsey Chomiuk, and Preston Smith.
The leading cause of preventable blindness in third world countries is lack of glasses," said Proctor. "Our trip was especially important during this time in history for Honduras. With the political coup, tourism is down and much foreign aid has been limited. The island is so beautiful, yet the people have such need."
The team got on a bus each day at 8:00 a.m. and drove a windy, hilly road to get to the vision clinic, which was set up in an Outreach Minis tries church. Proctor said that at least 50 people would already be waiting when the team arrived each day.
The patients were sent through different stations at the clinic, including ocular and health history, visual acuities and retinoscopy, which is a time-saving method of determining an estimated prescription for a patient by using a machine. Overall, 2,000 pairs of glasses were distributed and some pairs will be mailed back. Thirty-three patients were found to have cataracts and referred for surgery.
Proctor considers the trip a success and a great learning experience for the students.
"Our students worked really well as a team," she said. "It was a great experience for them and I’m glad I could take part. I enjoyed watching them step out of their comfort zone and shine during this life-changing experience."
Proctor hopes they can do another mission trip in the future. She wants to hold fundraisers and set some foundation for an effort called Students Volunteering Optometric Services to Humankind.
"Our team was excited to partner with the optometry school and NSU to go out into the world and bring vision care to those who had none," Proctor said. "We can’t do this without the support of the optometry school and NSU. We are very grateful for everyone who helped."