WSPOS Scientific Bureau member, Gail Stephenson, passed away on 19th July following a brief illness. Gail Stephenson was at the forefront of all aspects of developing her profession, nationally and internationally.
Her record of achievement and service to orthoptics were unique. The impact of her work has influenced teaching of undergraduates & clinical practice. It has also given an indication of the importance of high grade binocular vision in high performing sports professionals.
The Liverpool University Department of Orthoptics, one of the only two university departments in England that offers an Orthoptics degree, was established by her in 1992.
She was the Head of the Department until 2014, following which she stepped down to spend more time developing the postgraduate education programme for the continuing professional development of qualified orthoptics.
In 2011 she was awarded a Fellowship of the British and Irish Orthoptic Society for outstanding service to the Orthoptic profession. She was elected President of the European Orthoptic Association and was the Deputy President of the International Orthoptic Association (the global orthoptic association) in 2013.
Since 1996, Gail was involved in research into the effects of visual function on sport performance at the request of the then Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. Her research has influenced and changed certain aspects of the coaching activities both for individual players and for the team as a whole. This work has also become part of the ‘talent ID’ process for young academy players.
She used her expertise in this field to also advise other sports such as motor sport, tennis, rugby and netball.
Her significant contributions to the University of Liverpool in many areas throughout her working life attributed to her being awarded a personal chair in 2013.
She had a distinguished career and leaves a legacy of service to her profession. With a smile, a chuckle and a twinkle in her eyes, she conveyed her thoughts and opinions with humor and exacting observation. The contribution Gail made to the life and work of her students, colleagues and friends will be remembered and valued by them for many years to come.”