Snapshot Interview:
Dieter Ruehrmund

By Abigail Gonsalves, OD

Get inspired and learn a little bit more about your fellow VOSH-Illinois volunteers.

This month we are talking to Dieter Ruehrmund

Dieter Ruehrmund has been active in VOSH for over 33 years. He has served as VOSH-IL’s President, Vice President and currently serves as Treasurer for many years. He and his wife, Joan, have served in about 40 VOSH clinics, successfully organizing many of those clinic trips. 

“[VOSH-IL’s goals in next 5 years should be] continuing the advancement of optometry by education.”

What motivated you to initially become involved in VOSH-IL?

My wife is a nurse and was in charge of the Ophthalmology department at Rush North Shore Hospital. Dr. Rosenbloom was in charge of the Lighthouse for the Blind in Chicago and asked to use her facilities in her department for treatment of low vision patients. She learned about VOSH and went on her first mission to Peru in 1989.

How long have you been active in VOSH and what has motivated you to stay involved all these years?

Since 1988. My first mission trip was to Ecuador in 1990. There was always another mission on the horizon.

Are your spouse/children involved in VOSH -IL?

Yes, my son went on 16 missions with us.

What have been your greatest accomplishments in VOSH -IL?

Serving on 39 overseas mission and countless local ones.

What have you learned from being involved in VOSH-IL?

There is always a lot more to missions than meets the eye-ODs, volunteering, travel, facilities, supplies, housing etc.

Tell us a bit about your clinics. What are the biggest challenges and rewards participating on VOSH clinics?

Every mission has its challenges like getting ODs, volunteers and supplies. At the end with everything completed you feel good.

What do you see as VOSH-IL’s goals in next 5 years?

Continuing the advancement of optometry by education.

What do you see as VOSH-IL’s biggest challenges in the next 5 years and how to address them?

World economics and politics.

What advice would you give to student ODs who are interested in being involved with VOSH -IL?

Go on a mission. There is no better way to see how the rest of the world lives.

Would you like to add anything else about your experiences with VOSH-IL?

I have served as President and Vice President of VOSH-Illinois and have led local and overseas missions.

Do you work? Retired? What else do you do other than VOSH-related activities? What do you do in spare time? What do you do for fun?

Retired. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, listening to music and going to the theatre and church.

Do you have any heroes? Why?

Dr Alfred Rosenbloom, Dr. Gary Blackman, and Dr. Sol Rocke.

How have you been volunteering during COVID?

The last mission was to Nicaragua, just before COVID.