2022 Focus on Eye Health National Summit: Speaker and Moderator Bios

The Focus on Eye Health National Summit brings together diverse stakeholders across the vision and eye health community to stimulate a national dialogue around emerging and current population health trends and topics such as equity, research, surveillance, access, prevention, service integration, program development, and dissemination of professional best practices. Under the theme “Eye-conic Approaches to Eye Health,” the 2022 Summit features key contributions from those who are changing the way we think about vision and eye health and its role in our education, work, and lives; detecting and treating vision disorders as professionals in public health, research, and clinical practice; and strengthening the patient voice in clinical practice and public policy.

Agenda and Presentations

The Focus on Eye Health Summit logo

Speaker and Moderator Bios

Jeff Todd, Prevent Blindness

Jeff Todd
President & CEO, Prevent Blindness

Jeff Todd is President and Chief Executive Officer of Prevent Blindness, overseeing an organization established in 1908 to prevent blindness and preserve sight across all age spectrums.  Prevent Blindness accomplishes this by educating the American public on the importance of taking care of their eyes and vision, by promoting advances in public health systems of care that support eye health needs, and by advocating for public policy that emphasizes early detection of vision problems and access to appropriate eye care.

Mr. Todd joined the organization in 2003 as Director of Public Health and later served as Chief Operating Officer until becoming President & CEO in April 2018.  His contributions to the organization include establishing the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, a resource that promotes a continuum of eye health care for children across the country; fostering an annual national summit as a forum for the exchange of ideas relating to vision and public health; and overseeing the development of leading public health research, which has become widely used to capture the prevalence and cost of vision problems across the United States.

R.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA, FASC

R.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA, FASC
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Illinois Eye and Ear, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. R.V. Paul Chan is the Department Head and the John H. Panton, MD Professor of Ophthalmology at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). His clinical practice focuses on vitreoretinal surgery, with an expertise in pediatric retinal disease. Dr. Chan received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, MD from the Temple University School of Medicine, MSc from Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), and MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. After completing Ophthalmology residency at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital of WCMC, he went on to a Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chan spent nine years on faculty at WCMC, as Director of the Retina Service and Vitreoretinal Fellowship, before moving to UIC.

Dr. Chan previously served as the Vice Chair for both Clinical Affairs and Global Ophthalmology in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UIC and is a global leader in pediatric blindness prevention and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). His primary research interests focus on utilizing new technology and imaging techniques to better evaluate and manage children with retinal disease. He has authored over 180 peer-reviewed articles and has received grant funding by the NIH, the NSF, and a number of charitable foundations. He 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. Dr. Chan also serves as a consultant for programs sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Orbis International, and Helen Keller International (HKI).

Dr. Chan has been very actively involved in academic ophthalmology and organized medicine. He serves on the Board of Trustees for HKI, the Board of Directors for Prevent Blindness, the Executive Committee for the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO), and the Committee of Secretaries for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), where he is the Secretary for Global Alliances. Dr. Chan is an assistant editor for the journal, Retina, and is on the editorial board for Retina Today, Ocular Surgery News, the Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology, and the Journal of VitreoRetinal Diseases. He is an active member in a number of ophthalmic societies, including the American Ophthalmological Society, the Club Jules Gonin, the Retina Society, the Macula Society, founding member of the Vit-Buckle Society, the Association of Pediatric Retina Surgeons, the American Society of Retina Specialists, and he is Past President of the Chinese American Ophthalmological Society and Past President of the American Eye Study Club. He has also served on the Global ONE Advisory Board and the Ethics Committee for the AAO.

Frank Bruni, New York Times Columnist

Frank Bruni
Author, The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found
The New York Times
Duke University

Frank Bruni has been a prominent journalist for more than three decades, including more than twenty-five years at The New York Times, the last ten of them as a nationally renowned op-ed columnist who appeared frequently as a television commentator. He was also a White House correspondent for the Times, its Rome bureau chief, and, for five years, its chief restaurant critic. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers. In July 2021, he became a full professor at Duke University, teaching media-oriented classes in the school of public policy. He continues to write his popular weekly newsletter for the Times and to produce occasional essays as one of the newspaper’s official Contributing Opinion Writers.

Caroline Casey President, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness

Caroline Casey
President, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
Founder of The Valuable 500

Caroline Casey is the businesswoman and activist behind The Valuable 500, the world’s largest CEO collective and business move for disability inclusion. She launched the movement at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Summit in 2019 and since then has signed up 500 multinational organizations with a combined revenue of over $8 trillion, employing 20 million people worldwide to radically transform the business system. The membership includes 36 of the FTSE 100 companies, 46 of the Fortune 500 and 28 of the Nikkei.

Recently appointed President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Ms. Casey also sits on several diversity and inclusion boards to include L’Oréal and Sky and is a much sought-after speaker.

Ms. Casey has received an honorary doctorate as well as multiple awards and accolades for her work as a disability activist.

H.E. Walton Webson Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations

H.E. Walton Webson
Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations
Co-Chair of the United Friends of Vision Group and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

H.E. Dr. Walton Webson holds a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Science in Management of Non-Profit Organizations, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Organizational Development from the New School for Social Research, and a DM in Management from Case Western Reserve University. He worked for several international nongovernment organizations including: Sight Savers International (UK), The Caribbean Council for the Blind (Antigua and Barbuda), Hellen Keller International (New York), and Perkins International where he worked from 1992 to 2014 and was the organization’s Chief Executive from 2011.  Dr. Webson is an Antiguan diplomat. He has served as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York of Antigua and Barbuda since 2014.

Since joining the United Nations, Ambassador Webson served as President of UNICEF in 2017 and was Vice President of its Board in 2016. Ambassador Webson chaired the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples also known as the Special Committee on Decolonization or C-24 in 2018. He was appointed by the President 72nd session of the UN General Assembly to co-facilitate with the Ambassador of Japan the high-level meeting on tuberculosis which took place in September 2018. He has served as a co-facilitator on the Steering Committee on Accessibility appointed by the President of the UN General Assembly in 2019 and continues to serve in that capacity to date.

Ambassador Webson is an innovator and a leader. He founded the Friends of Vision at the United Nations, a group responsible for advocating for eye health to be included in universal health care (UHC). He was successful in getting eye health included for the first time in a UN resolution on UHC. He was the lead sponsor on two resolutions affecting the lives of persons with disabilities around the world on disabilities issues and a leading voice on issues of Small States.

Ambassador Webson served in 2020 as the President of the board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, UNOPS and UNFPA). He is the current co-chair of the UN Steering Committee on the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and has had the honor to lead the CARICOM Caucus at two General Assemblies over his first four years at the UN. Ambassador Webson is presently the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

Hursuong Vongsachang, MD, MPH Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Hursuong Vongsachang, MD, MPH
Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Hursuong Vongsachang completed her medical and public health degree at Johns Hopkins University. Her interest lies in public health ophthalmology, particularly regarding access to vision care and vision health disparities. She is a current intern in the Harvard ophthalmology residency program at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

Marissa K. Shoji, MD Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Marissa K. Shoji, MD
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Dr. Marissa Shoji is originally from Massachusetts and attended Harvard University, where she majored in neurobiology with a secondary in economics, ran on the varsity cross country and track teams, was a leader in mentorship and community service activities, and graduated with highest honors in neurobiology. She subsequently attended Harvard Medical School, where she was involved in ophthalmology research, mentored students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine, and continued leadership and community service activities. She is currently an ophthalmology resident at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and balances her clinical and surgical responsibilities and dedication to outstanding care for all patients with active involvement in mentoring, participating in community service with underserved populations, and conducting innovative research to advance understanding of ocular and orbital disease.

Ranya Habash, MD CEO, LifeLong Vision

Ranya Habash, MD
CEO, LifeLong Vision
FDA Digital Health Network of Experts
Fmr Medical Director, Technology Innovation, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Visionary Innovation Mentor, Stanford University

Dr. Ranya Habash is CEO of LifeLong Vision Special Purpose Acquisition Company and the former Medical Director of Technology Innovation at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. She was appointed to the FDA’s Digital Health Network of Experts and listed on The Ophthalmologist Power List, first recognizing the top 50 stars in the world “who will lead ophthalmology over the next few decades and shape its future,” then as one of the “most influential” female ophthalmologists in the world, and most recently as one of the “Top 100 most influential people” in ophthalmology worldwide.

Dr. Habash was also Chief Medical Officer of Everbridge and Co-Founder of HipaaChat. She was listed by Becker’s Hospital Review as a Top Healthcare Entrepreneur to Know. As a publicly-traded company, Everbridge integrated HipaaChat’s secure messaging and telemedicine platform within its software suite, serving over 1500 hospitals and health systems. As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Habash provided strategic clinical insight for Everbridge’s business development, sales, and product teams, while collaborating with companies like Apple, Amazon, and Verizon to modernize communication for health systems. This included HIPAA-compliance, automated code alerts, IoT monitoring of medical devices, mobile SOS safety software, and care coordination between hospitals, ambulances, and emergency services on a city-wide and state-wide scale. Her training sessions and materials have been internationally embraced, and her work was cited in U.S. Senate Committee hearings for telehealth expansion in all medical specialties.

Combining her unique clinical, tech, and product backgrounds, Dr. Habash joined Microsoft’s healthcare team to lead a global machine learning project between Microsoft and Bascom Palmer, delivering a multi-disease retinal algorithm to automate diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions. As program manager for Microsoft, she worked to build a global collaborative network for data sharing and digital health collaboration. Her latest research focuses on brain-computer interface technology for the diagnosis and treatment of multiple ophthalmic and neurologic conditions. These extraordinary experiences fuel her strategy for LifeLong Vision SPAC and the impact she hopes to make on healthcare.

Kyle Keane, PhD Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kyle Keane, PhD
Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Executive Director, With Participation Incorporated

Dr. Kyle Keane is a Lecturer and Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He teaches the interdisciplinary applied engineering course called Principles and Practices of Assistive Technology (ppat.mit.edu) and his lab supports a number of research projects dedicated toward integrating technology where it is helpful in globally diverse support systems for Persons with Disabilities.

Michael Ciszek, OD President, VOSH/International

Michael Ciszek, OD
President, VOSH/International

Dr. Michael Ciszek graduated cum laude from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, as a triple major in biology, pre-med, and Spanish. Combining his interests, he spent several months studying in Arequipa, Peru at the Universidad Catolica de Santa Maria.  Later, he went on to the Illinois College of Optometry where he again graduated cum laude and did his graduate thesis on HIV and contact lens wear. Areas of specialty include specialty contact lenses, ocular surface disease, and providing care to LGBTQ patients in need. His local philanthropy is highlighted by his work with Howard Brown Health Center, an organization with a mission to promote health and wellness to underserved LGBTQ patients in Chicago. He is part of a dedicated group of doctors who provide consultation services to the contact lens industry, bringing new technologies to the marketplace. He has also been published in Optometric Management Magazine.  Dr. Ciszek’s experience with VOSH began in 2011 on a trip to Barranquilla, Colombia. Immediately moved by the experience and the direct impact on the community, he has now been on a multitude of trips, including Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Mexico, and is involved in domestic efforts to provide quality eye care to those in need in the USA.  He was humbled to recently receive the Illinois College of Optometry Humanitarian Alumni of the Year Award in 2021.

Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, PhD Director, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research

Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, PhD
Director, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research

Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, PhD is a disability activist, a two-time Paralympian and the Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) in the Administration for Community Living. As a researcher, her primary area of work relates to disability identity development. As a wheelchair-user for over 35 years, Dr. Forber-Pratt is nationally and internationally recognized as a disability leader and mentor. As a Paralympic medalist in the sport of wheelchair racing, she has dedicated her life to helping others recognize their potential. Globally, she is involved with disability advocacy efforts related to access to employment, education and sport through public speaking and media appearances.  She was a White House Champion of Change in 2013 and the American Psychological Association awarded her the 2020 Citizen Psychologist Award for Advancing Disability as a Human Rights and Social Justice Issue Award.

Stacy Ayn Lyons, OD, FAAO New England College of Optometry

Stacy Ayn Lyons, OD, FAAO
New England College of Optometry

Dr. Stacy Lyons is a Professor of Optometry and serves as Chair of the Specialty and Advanced Care Department at the New England College of Optometry. She has been a faculty member at the College since 1989. She teaches in the Binocular Vision and Pediatric Optometry courses at the college and provides pediatric eye care and vision therapy at the Charles River Community Health Center. Dr. Lyons is the 2019 recipient of the Dupuis-Pellerin Award for Faculty Excellence. In 2016, Dr. Lyons was honored with the Theia Award for Excellence in Education by Women in Optometry. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Lyons serves as the Chair of the National Advisory Committee to the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health. She is a Past-Chair of the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association, co-director of the Massachusetts Opening Eyes program as part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athlete Initiative, and member of the Children’s Vision Massachusetts Coalition. Dr. Lyons also serves on the Advisory Board of Women in Optometry.

Sharona Washington-Lockett, MBA ASPECT Patient Engagement Program Graduate Prevent Blindness Texas Board Member

Sharona Washington-Lockett, MBA
ASPECT Patient Engagement Program Graduate
Prevent Blindness Texas Board Member

Within days of Ms. Washington-Lockett’s birth, her parents were faced with a monumental decision that would affect her entire life:  major surgery for an infant less than two weeks old using a procedure that other consulting physicians said was futile because the odds of its success were nominal. But her parents took that bet, relying on the skills of Dr. Malcom Mazo from Houston Eye Associates to change her life. During her lifetime, Ms. Washington-Lockett has endured multiple surgeries from several highly experienced ophthalmologists. Even though Ms. Washington-Lockett was tasked with this uphill sight journey, it never stopped her from doing and succeeding in everything she wanted. She is more dedicated now than ever to the fight to help prevent blindness, be a patient advocate, change legislation and help health care professionals remember their reason “why.”

Megan E. Collins, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Megan E. Collins, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions

Dr. Megan E. Collins is an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute and associate faculty at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. She specializes in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus. Her research focuses on eliminating barriers in access to eye care, epidemiology of pediatric eye disease, and the impact of refractive error on academic performance. She currently leads Johns Hopkins’ activities for Vision for Baltimore (V4B), a collaborative school-based vision program providing vision screening, eye exams, and eyeglasses to every child preK-8th grade in Baltimore City Public Schools. She is co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions.

Michael Steinert, MA, LPC Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, Fort Worth Independent School District

Michael Steinert, MA, LPC
Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, Fort Worth Independent School District

Michael Steinert has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, and has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor since 1999.

Mr. Steinert’s background is in the behavioral health and education profession, across a variety of settings, for the past 30 years.  His experience includes providing clinical mental health care in inpatient, outpatient, acute care hospital, community-based, and school settings. His primary focus has been developing and coordinating supportive services for at-risk populations.

As the Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services for Fort Worth Independent School District for the past 21 years, he has had the opportunity to develop systems of care for a large urban district serving over 73,000 students in the Tarrant County area.  His purview includes Health Services, Family and Community Resources, Prevention and Intervention Programming, Adolescent Pregnancy Support, After School Programming, Counseling Services, Student Discipline and Alternative Education.

Presciliana Olayo Vision Care Services Coordinator, Fort Worth Independent School District

Presciliana Olayo
Vision Care Services Coordinator, Fort Worth Independent School District

Presciliana Olayo’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is a candidate for a Master’s degree in Risk Management and Compliance. Ms. Olayo’s professional experience spans a total of 20 years in Public Education (K-12) under the business and finance umbrella, particularly in program management of federal, state, and local grant funds.

During her different roles in Fort Worth Independent School District for the past 20 years, she has had the opportunity to collaborate with community partners and administrative leadership teams to develop systems that foster and provide services designed to support a well-rounded education program.

As the Vision Care Services Coordinator in a joint effort with community partners, they address student vision needs essential for their health-wellbeing and academic readiness. Ms. Olayo’s personal goal is to support systems that reduce health-related barriers and empower students and their families with the knowledge and skills needed to excel and achieve lifelong health and wellness.

Nicole Guysi ASPECT Patient Engagement Program Graduate

Nicole Guysi
ASPECT Patient Engagement Program Graduate

Nicole Guysi is a wife, mother of two, handler to her daughter’s service dog, transition technician in Peoria Unified School District and advocate. Married for over 12 years, Ms. Guysi’s two school-aged children (Brooke and Blake) are the fuel behind her passion to educate others and be educated herself. Brooke has multiple diagnoses in vision and in other areas. Since 2014, Ms. Guysi has volunteered and partnered with different organizations to learn for her daughter, along with helping to educate her daughter and other families and professionals.

Barbara E. Bierer, MD Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Barbara E. Bierer, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Barbara E. Bierer, a hematologist-oncologist, is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. Bierer co-founded and now leads the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of BWH and Harvard (MRCT Center), a collaborative effort to improve standards for the planning and conduct of international clinical trials. She is a co-founder of COVID-19 Collaboration Platform and of the non-profit Vivli, a global clinical research data sharing platform. She is also the Director of the Regulatory Foundations, Ethics, and Law program at the Harvard Catalyst, and Director of Regulatory Policy for SMART IRB. She serves as Faculty in the Center for Bioethics, HMS, and Affiliate Faculty in the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law at Harvard Law School. From 2003-2014, Dr. Bierer served as Senior Vice-President, Research, BWH where she founded the Brigham Research Institute and the Brigham Innovation Hub. She is a past chair of SACHRP and has served or serves on the Board of Directors of AAHRPP, PRIMR, MSH, Vivli, North Star IRB, and the Edward P. Evans Foundation. She has authored over 250 publications.

Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH Director, Salud America! National Program, UT Health San Antonio

Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH
Director, Salud America! National Program, UT Health San Antonio
Director, Institute for Health Promotion Research, UT Health San Antonio
Chair, Department of Population Health Sciences, UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, of UT Health San Antonio, is a health equity pioneer who has achieved local, state, national, presidential, and international recognition for her successes in reducing Latino cancer health disparities and championing system and policy changes that promote health equity for Latinos. As Chair and Full Professor of the Department of Population Health Sciences at UT Health San Antonio, a Hispanic-Serving Institute, Ramirez leads a multidisciplinary team of public health researchers, data scientists, and communication specialists in addressing the cancer experience of Latinos. As leader of community outreach at the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio, Dr. Ramirez has implemented system changes that have enhanced surveillance of the South Texas cancer burden, improved equity and diversity in cancer clinical trial recruitment, and engaged the community in clinical research and preventive cancer care. Dr. Ramirez also leads the Salud America! communication program (www.salud-america.org; @SaludAmerica). Salud America! is a national network of over 500,000 community, school, and healthcare leaders who are fueled with content and tools to advocate for equitable changes in policies and systems related to healthcare access, housing, transportation, and social cohesion in Latino communities. Salud America!’s core members led 275 health policy changes in a year, according to a recent evaluation. Dr. Ramirez has been recognized by the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Obama White House, the National Academy of Medicine, and more. Dr. Ramirez is a native of Laredo, Texas.