Prevent Blindness Announces Recipients of 2021 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health, and Rising Visionary Award

Prevent Blindness has announced the recipient of the “2021 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health,” as R.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA, FACS, Professor and Head, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, The John H. Panton, MD Professor of Ophthalmology, Director, Pediatric Retina and ROP Service at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Additionally, Prevent Blindness is pleased to announce the recipient of the second annual “Rising Visionary Award” as Ms. Shervonne Poleon, Vision Science Graduate Program student, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Both award recipients will present at the Tenth Annual Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit, to be held virtually, on July 14-15, 2021.

R.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA, FACSR.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA, FACS

Shervonne PoleonShervonne Poleon

The Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health is presented annually to an individual, team, or organization that has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health at the community, state, national and/or international level. Among the highest honors Prevent Blindness bestows, the award is named after Mrs. Jenny Pomeroy, who served as CEO of Prevent Blindness Georgia from 1996 until 2013 and was a tireless advocate for improved public health programs, services and funding for vision and eye care.

Dr. Chan was selected by an all-volunteer committee for his leadership in global retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) program development, pediatric retina, retinal imaging, and education. He has performed extensive basic and clinical research in adult and pediatric retina, retinopathy of prematurity, telemedicine, image analysis, and tele-education. Dr. Chan has significant experience in global ophthalmology and development of international clinical programs and global health curricula. He is also a consultant for Orbis International and on the Board of Trustees for Helen Keller International.

Additionally, Dr. Chan is a core team member of the Imaging and Informatics for ROP (i-ROP) consortium and leads the Global Education Network for ROP (GEN-ROP), which is an international collaboration of investigators with expertise in neonatology, ophthalmology, biomedical informatics, international health, and medical education. Together, they have developed tele-education and telemedicine programs, and have established clinical, teaching, and research collaborations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The i-ROP consortium, led by Dr. J. Peter Campbell with Dr. Michael F. Chiang and Dr. Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer, developed the i-ROP DL system, an artificial intelligence algorithm for ROP that received breakthrough device status by the Food and Drug Association (FDA). They aim to globalize these efforts and improve access to such technology.

The Prevent Blindness Rising Visionary Award recognizes an optometry student or resident, ophthalmology resident, primary health care, nursing, or other health professional student or resident in the United States who has the best essay based on a question related to the 2021 Focus on Eye Health National Summit theme, “Our Changing Vision.” Ms. Poleon’s essay, “Prioritizing Wellness in Eye Care,” outlined the need for “eye care facilitators,” whose focus would be the social and psychological wellness of patients, with the goal of improving visual outcomes by directly addressing socio-behavioral factors that limit care delivery and efficacy.

“We congratulate both Dr. Chan and Ms. Poleon on receiving this year’s Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health and our Rising Visionary Award,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.  “We look forward to their exciting presentations at our Focus on Eye Health National Summit in July!”

For more information on the Prevent Blindness Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health, or the Rising Visionary Award, please visit, or contact Nita Sinha, director of Public Health, at (800) 331-2020 or [email protected].


Download the Jenny Pomeroy/Rising Visionary Award press release.