About the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award
The Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award recognizes significant efforts by an individual or group of individuals to improve public health approaches for children’s vision and eye health at the state or national level. The award was established in 2014 by the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health Advisory Committee to commemorate Dr. Bonnie Strickland and her groundbreaking work to establish a comprehensive system for children’s vision in the United States. Strickland served as Director of the Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs, Maternal and Child Health Bureau before her retirement in 2014.
The 2023 Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award
The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) has announced the recipient of the ninth annual “Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award” as optician Danielle Crull, ABOM, author, business owner of A Child’s Eyes, organizer of The Pumpkin Patch Project, and founder of the Truffles the Kitty Organization (TKO). The award will be formally presented at the NCCVEH Annual Meeting on Sept. 14, 2023.
Crull, owner of Truffles the Kitty, was named the recipient of the award for her efforts to raise awareness of vision disorders in children, promoting early detection and treatment, supporting children in their patching treatment for amblyopia (lazy eye) and eyeglasses-wearing, and engaging families and the public in efforts to reduce stigma around vision disorders. Using Truffles as an ambassador, Crull effectively executes innovative approaches through social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok, and widespread family and public engagement efforts.
Crull has authored two books: “Apple Patty Patches” and “Banana Bobby Wears Bifocals.” And, in 2017, she organized the Pumpkin Patch Project encouraging people to put patches on their pumpkins during the month of October, designed to demonstrate support for kids who are patching an eye for amblyopia treatment.
TKO is a non-profit organization which operates three different initiatives:
- A Campaign for Knowledge: working with doctors, schools, and communities, education and outreach efforts are aimed at making children feel more comfortable wearing glasses or eye patches. The campaign provides education and materials to parents and teachers to recognize possible early vision issues.
- A Campaign for Encouragement: sending Treats from Truffles packages to children wearing glasses and/or eye patches, and to children who will undergo eye surgery, all over the world.
- A Campaign for Assistance: providing funds to help families purchase a first pair of glasses for their child. The program also provides education on how glasses should fit and explains the eyeglasses prescription so parents can feel empowered about making decisions.
TKO also recently released the Patching with Truffles web application to support amblyopia treatment and occlusion therapy. The free app encourages children to continue with their patching each day by getting a different video from Truffles putting on her own eye patch. They can earn digital stickers of Truffles to put in the app’s sticker book and can send Truffles messages to relay how they are doing.
Nominees for the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award may be an individual or group comprised of diverse stakeholders, including family/caregiver and community leaders, public health, healthcare, education, etc. who are implementing changes to improve children’s vision in the United States and reduce disparities in children’s vision and eye health. We are seeking nominations of individuals or groups who seek out new and innovative solutions to barriers to healthy vision in children and have successfully implemented solutions that are replicable and sustainable. Nominees should be able to demonstrate an impact in one or more areas of a population health system supporting children’s vision:
- Key Stakeholder Engagement or Collaboration, including representation from families and diverse racial/ethnic/geographic and socio-economic levels target populations.
- Training and Education
- Public Awareness
- Provision of Resources and/or Services
- Surveillance and Accountability
- Reduction of Health Inequities
- Vision and Eye Health Infrastructure Development- Local, State, or National Level
- Making the connection between vision and overall health, early childhood development and learning
The award will be presented to the recipient at the Annual Meeting of the NCCVEH to be held virtually on Thursday, September 14, 2023.
The award consists of a commemorative plaque, recognition and opportunity to present at the Annual Meeting. The award recipient will be featured on the NCCVEH website with an overview of their innovative approaches to children’s vision and eye health systems. An all-volunteer committee for the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award will review all nominations and select the award winner.
2022: Donny W. Suh, MD, FAAP, MBA, FACS, Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, University of California, Irvine. Dr. Suh serves as medical director of the UC Irvine Mobile Eye Clinic which has provided vision screenings for more than 20,000 preschoolers in Orange County, Calif. Dr. Suh was also recognized for training pediatric ophthalmologists and his leadership within the American Academy of Pediatrics to improve communications between pediatrics and ophthalmology, and for developing vision screening guidelines.
2021: Ms. Shavette L. Turner, Vice President, Children’s Vision Services at Prevent Blindness Georgia (PBGA). Ms. Turner implemented a unique approach to helping disadvantaged and underserved youth across Georgia access vision and eye care, with emphasis in Hall County where there is a significantly large Latino population who experience barriers to eye care. Ms. Turner recruited more than 200 community volunteers, resulting in screening thousands of students and providing 300 pairs of eyeglasses.
2020: Logan Newman, NBCT, ABO, MS Ed, Program Developer and NYS Certified Science teacher and Career in Technical Experience Teacher at the East High School Vision Care Program.
2019: Anne L. Coleman, M.D., MPH, UCLA Stein Eye Institute. Dr. Coleman is the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation Professor of Ophthalmology at Stein Eye Institute of the David Geffen School of Medicine; Vice Chair, Academic Affairs, UCLA Department of Ophthalmology; Professor of Epidemiology in the UCLA Jonathon and Karin Fielding School of Public Health; Director of the Stein Eye Institute Center for Community Outreach and for her leadership of the UCLA Mobile Vision Clinic.
2017: Sean P. Donahue, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Donahue was selected by the volunteer Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award Committee for his efforts to improve children’s vision through stakeholder engagement, volunteer coordination, and advancement of vision screening technology.
2016: The Illinois Eye Institute (IEI) at Princeton Vision Clinic based at the Illinois College of Optometry. The IEI at Princeton was selected by the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award Committee for its consistent and on-going commitment to addressing the unmet visual needs of Chicago Public School students.
2016 Honorable Mention: Vivian James, PhD, North Carolina Preschool Exceptional Children Coordinator for the Office of Early Learning – State Board of Education, Department of Public Instruction. Dr. James was recognized for her exceptional work in North Carolina to improve vision screening systems as they relate to public health professional training as well as special education eligibility determinations.
2015: The Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Children’s (PPOC) based at the Boston Children’s Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts. The PPOC was selected by the Award Committee for its consistent and on-going commitment to introducing proven and innovative new approaches to pediatric vision screening and care to providers and patients in the medical home setting.