Contact: Priscilla Kelangi
Prevent Blindness Northeast East Region
Phone: (312) 363-6037
Haverhill Northeast Regional School Nurse Consultant Heads to Washington to Advocate for Support for Programs, Research to Save Sight
Shanyn Toulouse Joins Prevent Blindness Delegation from Massachusetts to Discuss the Importance of Healthy Vision
Boston, MA (July 2, 2018) – Northeast Regional School Nurse Consultant, Shanyn A. Toulouse, MEd, BSN, RN, NCSN, a resident of Haverhill, MA, will join delegates from across the country for the thirteenth annual “Eyes on Capitol Hill” Advocacy day on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Prevent Blindness Northeast Region will join with Prevent Blindness national staff, and bring citizens from across the country to meet with Congress to speak on vision issues and to request support for public health programs.
A practicing registered nurse since 1995 and a nationally certified School Nurse in Massachusetts, Ms Toulouse’s current role is as a Regional School Nurse Consultant providing support, training, and technical assistance to 50+ school districts in Northeast Massachusetts. She is also the current statewide trainer for the Department of Public Health’s Preschool and School vision screening training programs through Boston University’s School Health Institute for Education and Leadership Development.
Ms. Toulouse is an active member of Children’s Vision Massachusetts (CVMA) coalition, and participates in their events including Advocacy Day at the Massachusetts State House in October, 2017. Ms. Toulouse has recently been appointed to serve on the Governor Charlie Baker’s Children’s Vision Commission which is tasked to investigate and make recommendations on the status, quality and effectiveness of children’s vision screening and eye health in the Commonwealth.
Ms Toulouse describes her commitment to children’s vision: “As a school nurse, and former HeadStart nurse, I have seen how treatment of vision problems can positively impact a student’s self-esteem, physical and social development, and their ability to fully engage in their environment and be ready to learn in the classroom. It’s amazing to see students blossom socially and to witness the pride they have in wearing their new glasses. I recall putting my own glasses on for the very first time as a child and being amazed at the new world that I was seeing. I had no idea what I was missing out on. It’s a pretty special moment for a student when they first put on eye glasses and discover their world, and being a small part of making that happen is rewarding. As a school nurse it is part of why we do this important work.”
“By sharing Shanyn Toulouse’s story, we can inform our government leaders on how untreated vision issues can affect children, their health and development, but also the fiscal and public health consequences of it” said Paulette Tattersall, Director of Prevent Blindness Northeast Region. Ms. Tattersall added “We embrace the opportunity to annually bring new voices to Capitol Hill to speak with our government representatives. It is important to advocate for programs, research and systems that help identify, treat and prevent unnecessary vision loss.”
This year’s Eyes on Capitol Hill meetings have been scheduled to discuss with Members of Congress about the impact of vision problems. Absent significant investment and intervention, the annual cost of vision problems in the U.S. is anticipated to increase from $145 billion currently to $717 billion by 2050. Specifically, advocates will ask elected officials to:
- Provide at least $3.3 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 to maintain vision and eye health efforts at the Vision Health Initiative (VHI) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Provide $3.5 million to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (MCHB-HRSA) to directly address early identification and treatment of children’s vision problems.
- Provide at least $4 million for the Glaucoma Project at CDC.
- Provide $800 million to the National Eye Institute (NEI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for FY 2019.
- Protect the CDC’s public health response capabilities from a drastic loss of funding in the absence of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, by providing a corresponding budget increase in FY 2019.
On July 18, all Eyes on Capitol Hill delegates will attend the seventh annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
For more information on Eyes on Capitol Hill or Prevent Blindness Northeast Region and its advocacy initiatives, please call 312-363-6037 or visit www.childrensvisionmassachusetts.org .
About Prevent Blindness Northeast Region and Children’s Vision Massachusetts
Prevent Blindness Northeast Region is part of Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, serving the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screenings, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public.
Children’s Vision Massachusetts, supported by Prevent Blindness, is a seventy member coalition of families, professionals from multiple disciplines and affiliations, whose mission is to facilitate the development of a state-wide plan to improve the visual health of children in Massachusetts. To achieve this, the coalition is working to raise awareness and create systems to assure that every child has a vision screening, eye exam, and ongoing treatment if diagnosed with a vision condition.