Dr. Gillian M. Cochrane PhD FACO MCOptom


International Eye Foundation


Gillian has provided technical support to USAID’s Child Blindness Program since 2014 as a consultant to numerous grant managers and now directly as a consultant with the International Eye Foundation. Since 1991, Gillian has provided strategic program design and implementation supporting eye health care strengthening, research, facilitation, quality assurance, evaluation, and, advocacy throughout low and middle income settings. Prior to this, Gillian was an optometrist in Scotland providing contact lens, pediatric, domiciliary, and low vision services from her 5 practice-partnership. She has been registered as an optometrist in 9 of 27 different countries and states in which she has worked and lived as a program manager and regional director. She remains registered professionally in Australia and UK. Gillian previously provided clinical tutoring and problem-based learning at Deakin University’s (Australia) Medical School’s School of Optometry and continues to examine Bachelors and Masters optometry students while also providing external examination for international Masters and Doctoral theses in the public health eye care domain. She currently supports comprehensive program development for all levels of ophthalmic services and health systems strengthening in Papua New Guinea and provides support as required to the School of Optometry development in Haiti. Throughout, she has continued to support the development of ophthalmology programs globally, providing expertise to ICO, IAPB, USAID, BHF, FHF, CBM, and others. She is an invited speaker for conferences focusing on sustainable, affordable, accessible equitable eye care for all through the lens of program development.

Gillian’s passions are collaboration, equitable access to eye health care, and reducing the carbon footprint of eye health care delivery. Since providing international development support, Gillian noticed that facilitation is a critical success factor to enable everyone’s voice to be heard. She has been trained in multiple facilitation techniques including an advanced diploma in large group-work facilitation, as well as Zenergy and Lewis Deep Democracy, which is a method developed from Arnold Mindell’s Process Oriented Psychology that works with polarities and uses the ‘transformative potential of tension to build consensus by actively surfacing and exploring opposing views’. Gillian thoroughly enjoys bringing creative and participatory approaches including art and music into sessions, weaving communities, and narrative threads to enable diverse folk to realize their individual and collective potential.

When not immersed in enabling colleagues to amplify their voices, Gillian is weaving her own raffia baskets, growing veggies and pollen-rich flowers for their bees, and sharing the looking after of chooks and their old dog with her partner.