Students unite for sight
Jennifer Staple balances her medical studies with leading an international initiative to promote eye health. At its annual conference Hugh Ip met her
It is a non-profit making organisation that empowers communities to improve eye health. We send volunteers from the United States, England, and many other countries to Ghana and India, where they work with eye clinics.
I contacted medical advisers and offices for students' affairs about the opportunity to start a group based on the model that had been developed in the previous three years at Yale. Students were excited about trying to prevent blindness. Within months of the initial plan, we had 75 groups.
In the summer of 2004 we started to develop international programmes. A medical student who had been working in a village in Ghana for several summers heard of Unite for Sight from a friend. She contacted me, wondering whether Unite for Sight could help. We developed our international programmes first in that village, and since we have expanded the programmes to thousands of villages.