Nurturing eye research talent

CERA PhD graduate Dr Joshua Foreman is driven by a desire to improve eye health for under-served communities around the world.


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During his PhD research supervised at CERA, Dr Foreman played a key role in the design and implementation of the National Eye Health Survey (NEHS), the first nationally representative survey of eye health in Australia.

In recognition of his contribution, he was awarded the University of Melbourne’s 2019 Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in the PhD Thesis.

This is the most prestigious award given to PhD graduates and recognises scholarly excellence, international recognition and impact of research.

His supervisors Dr Mo Dirani, Associate Professor Peter van Wijngaarden and Dr Stuart Keel, agreed this achievement was extremely well-deserved.

“Dr Foreman is an exemplar of the values of integrity, respect, compassion and accountability that lie at the heart of the University and CERA,” says Associate Professor van Wijngaarden.

“I have every confidence that Joshua will follow in the footsteps of Professor Hugh Taylor to make enduring contributions to Indigenous eye health and ophthalmic epidemiology.”

Dr Foreman’s research findings have been used extensively by the eye health sector and have played a key role in driving changes in eye health policy and service delivery.

His findings on the eye health of Indigenous Australians and the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy have been instrumental in supporting significant national approaches to the issues.

Teleophthalmology and AI


Now, Dr Foreman is further consolidating his research experience in the USA. As the recipient of an NHMRC Sidney Sax Overseas Public Health and Health Services Early Career Fellowship, he is working on ground-breaking research with a team at New York University and the University of California, Berkley.

This work will explore the potential of teleophthalmology and artificial intelligence-assisted image analysis to reduce avoidable vision loss and blindness from diabetes in under-served minority communities.

“I hope to develop screening programmes and behavioural interventions that can be adapted cross-culturally to meaningfully reduce the burden of preventable vision impairment, particularly from diabetic retinopathy,” Dr Foreman says.

On his return to Australia, he plans to apply these learnings to the design and implementation of sight-saving eye health programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Dr Foreman says his time at CERA has played an incredible role in shaping his career so far.

“The guidance that I received at CERA during my PhD journey and the numerous opportunities that manifested as a result of my work at CERA have been instrumental in developing a clear picture of my future career path.

“Without CERA, I would not have completed such a fantastic project, nor would I have been awarded the Chancellor’s Prize or this wonderful fellowship that is presently allowing me to expand my horizons.”

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