Paediatric hearing and vision screening interprofessional community engagement activity

Congratulations to Dr Peter Carew and collaborators for an exciting new paediatric hearing and vision screening interprofessional community engagement event!

Audiology and Optometry student group

Community-based pre-school hearing screening has been an important feature across Audiology student training at the University of Melbourne for many years. In May 2021, this program expanded to incorporate interprofessional opportunities for Audiology students, to ‘learn with, from and about’ Optometry students while engaging with the community. This was realised by offering free hearing and vision screening for pre-school children in partnership with a local community organisation, the Kiwanis Club of Waverley. On a wintery Saturday, 6 audiology and 6 optometry students came together for an all-day event, working and learning together to screen 35 children and provide feedback to caregivers.

Dr Peter Carew from the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology and Associate Professor Anthea Cochrane from the Department of Optometry and Visions Sciences collaborated together on this activity.  Both represent their respective disciplines on the Faculty Interprofessional Education & Practice Development Committee, believing in the value of collaborative practice.  Christine Nearchou from Optometry who specialises in paedatric care helped organise the Optometry students to join Peter and the Audiology students.

Dr Peter Carew reports “By expanding this program to include interprofessional activities we all benefit. Our students gain from learning alongside each other, recognising similarities in practice and developing collaborative skills. Families in the community benefit by gaining access to expanded screenings, which are highlighted as key events in community group calendars. This model has proved popular with students and community groups, with more interprofessional events scheduled across the remainder of 2021. The opportunity for Audiology and Optometry to work together on these successful events continues to be very rewarding.”

Associate Professor Anthea Cochrane says “Peter has established a wonderful relationship with Community Organisations around Melbourne and he has welcomed Optometry to join in.  This is a great opportunity to engage with and help Community groups as well as improve student skills in working with children."

Well done to all and it’s fantastic to see these organic and meaningful interprofessional education and practice in action!

audiology students