Fight for Sight and Prevent Blindness Announce Recipient of the 2020 Joanne Angle Public Health Award

Research Grant Awarded to Angela R. Elam, MD, Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan

Fight for Sight, the first nonprofit organization in the United States to promote eye research, and Prevent Blindness announced today the recipient of the 2020 Joanne Angle Public Health Award as Angela R. Elam, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan. The $25,000 grant was awarded for Dr. Elam’s study, “Engagement in Telemedicine-based Glaucoma Screening in the Community Clinics.”

Angela R. Elam, MDAngela R. Elam, MD

The Joanne Angle Public Health Award is presented annually to research focusing on the public health side of vision and eye health. It was named for Ms. Joanne Angle who served on the National Board of Directors for Prevent Blindness, and both its Government Affairs and Audit committees, in addition to her work with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, often caused by an abnormally high pressure in the eye. Those with glaucoma usually start losing their side (peripheral) vision. According to the Prevent Blindness report, “The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems,” there are more than 3.2 million older adults in America with glaucoma.  The total number is expected to increase rapidly as the U.S. population ages.  Minority populations will also increasingly be affected.

The purpose of the Engagement in Telemedicine-based Glaucoma Screening in the Community Clinics study is to identify innovative strategies to better engage populations of people most at risk of vision loss from glaucoma and who are least likely to have access to an eye care provider in glaucoma screening and treatment. Both poverty and being of minority background lead to a higher risk of having glaucoma, and not getting adequate specialty treatment for glaucoma.

Dr. Elam is leading her team in implementing a telemedicine-based glaucoma screening program in two free clinics to overcome many of the logistical and psychosocial barriers to glaucoma screening. Interviews will be conducted of clinic staff, patients, and those accessing non-medical services to identify the best ways to engage community participants in the glaucoma screening program.

“Telemedicine is truly making a tremendous impact in providing essential services to those who do not have the access they need to stay healthy,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We are proud to give Dr. Angela Elam and her team this year’s Joanne Angle Public Health Award that provides funding that helps to save sight in those at highest risk for vision loss from glaucoma.”

“Fight for Sight is glad to partner with Prevent Blindness and congratulates Dr. Elam and her team on this award,” said Michael Brogioli, executive director of Fight for Sight. “Their work to engage underserved communities is especially critical during this extraordinary time.”

Past recipients of the Prevent Blindness Joanne Angle Award include Brian J. Song, MD, MPH, at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, for his study “Glaucoma Detection in Diabetes Teleretinal Programs,” and Rajeev S. Ramchandran, MD, MBA, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, for his study, “Implementation Science Based Study of Teleophthalmology for Diabetic Retinopathy Surveillance.”

For more information on the Fight for Sight-Prevent Blindness Joanne Angle Public Health Award, please contact Jean Song, Fight for Sight, at [email protected].

About Fight for Sight

Since 1946, Fight for Sight (FFS) has supported and inspired eye and vision research by funding promising scientists early in their careers. FFS has granted over $21 million in research that has contributed directly or indirectly to major advances in ophthalmology and vision research, including development of the IOL, aspects of donor cornea preservation, various use of ophthalmic lasers, glaucoma treatment, and gene therapy. For more information visit our website, or our Facebook page.

Download a copy of the 2020 Joanne Angle Public Health Award press release.