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2021 Focus On Eye Health National Summit Speaker and Moderator Biographies

The Focus on Eye Health National Summit is a key venue to elevate the national dialogue among diverse stakeholder groups around vision and significant population health issues such as surveillance, equity, prevention messaging, service integration, program development, and dissemination of best practices. The Summit allows participants to develop new collaborations, integrate new vision health messages and procedures into their outreach, and improve lines of communication with internal and external partners.

Agenda and Presentations

Learn more about past Summits and presentations

Michael Abramoff, MD, PhD, Fellow, IEEE, Digital Diagnostics and University of Iowa

Michael Abramoff, MD, PhD, Fellow, IEEE, Digital Diagnostics and University of Iowa

Dr. Michael D. Abramoff is a neuroscientist, computer engineer and fellowship-trained retina specialist. He is founder and executive chairman of Digital Diagnostics, Inc., the first company ever to receive FDA clearance for an autonomous AI diagnostic system. As the Watzke Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, he has authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications, received 17 issued patents, and been cited over 35,000 times. As expert on AI in healthcare, and AI ethics, he has briefed the US Congress, the White House, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and chairs the Foundational Principles of Ophthalmic Imaging Algorithmic Interpretation workgroup, originally instituted by FDA.

In 2010, Abramoff’s research findings led him to establish Digital Diagnostics to bring patients more affordable, more accessible, and higher quality healthcare. Digital Diagnostics is a leading AI diagnostics company on a mission to transform the affordability, quality, and accessibility of healthcare. The company is focused on developing clinically aligned autonomous AI systems. By enabling diagnostic assessment in primary care settings, Digital Diagnostics aims to increase patient access to high-quality, affordable disease detection.

Sally L. Baxter, MD, MSc, University of California San Diego

Sally L. Baxter, MD, MSc, University of California San Diego

Dr. Sally Liu Baxter is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Informatics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). She was an Angier B. Duke Scholar at Duke University, where she received her BS in Biology; a United States Marshall Scholar at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, where she received an MSc in Public Health; and a 21st Century Scholar at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her MD degree. She completed her ophthalmology residency training at UCSD, as well as a National Library of Medicine postdoctoral fellowship in biomedical informatics.

In addition to providing comprehensive ophthalmology care to a diverse population of patients, Dr. Baxter directs a laboratory conducting research investigation at the intersection of ophthalmology and informatics. Her work focuses on health information technology integration into clinical workflows, predictive modeling, natural language processing, and big-data analytics in ophthalmology.

Martha Dewey Bergren, DNS, RN, NCSN, PHNA-BC, FNASN, FASHA, FAAN, University of Illinois Chicago, Executive Editor, Journal of School Nursing

Martha Dewey Bergren, DNS, RN, NCAN, PHNA-BC, FNASN, FASHA, FAAN, University of Illinois Chicago, Executive Editor, Journal of School Nursing

Martha Dewey Bergren has a Doctorate in Nursing Science, and is nationally certified in school nursing and public health nursing.  Dr. Bergren is the Executive Editor for the Journal of School Nursing.  She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, National Association of School Nurses and the American School Health Association.

Dr. Bergren has been a member of the national advisory committee of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health for over 10 years.  Her scholarship focuses on the collection and dissemination of data that supports child health in the school setting.

Sandra S. Block, OD, MEd, MPH, Professor Emeritus, Prevent Blindness Board Member, National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness Advisory Committee Co-Chair

Sandra S. Block, OD, MEd, MPH, Prevent Blindness Board Member, Illinois College of Optometry

Dr. Sandra Block is a Professor Emeritus at Illinois College of Optometry, Global Clinical Advisor and consultant to the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program, and co-chair of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health. Dr. Block received her O.D. degree (1981) and Pediatric Residency (1982) at the Illinois College of Optometry, completed her Master of Education at National Louis University and attained her Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois, School of Public Health. She is a Diplomate in Public Health and Environmental Vision at the American Academy of Optometry and a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Practice. She sits on the Prevent Blindness Board of Directors and recently joined the VISION 2020 Board of Directors.

Dr. Block has been a consultant to the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program since 1995 and has been instrumental in developing the vision program globally.  Her interests lie in primary care for children and persons with disabilities, as well as diagnosis and treatment of visually related learning problems as well as public health issues facing the equity and quality of eye care delivery.

Dr. Block has authored numerous publications and conducted presentations worldwide. She is currently chair of the Public Health Committee of the World Council of Optometry and co-chair of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health.

Mitchell V. Brinks, MD, MPH, Chair, Prevent Blindness Public Health and Policy Committee, Chair, Vision 2020 USA, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University

Mitchell V. Brinks, MD, MPH, Chair, Prevent Blindness Public Health and Policy Committee, Chair, Vision 2020 USA, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Mitchell Brinks is the co-director of International Ophthalmology and Medical Director for Domestic Outreach at the Oregon Health & Science University’s Casey Eye Institute. He received his Master in International Health from Oregon State University after completing his medical degree at OHSU. Dr. Brinks has dedicated his medical career to improving the quality of eye care to underserved communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and abroad.

Domestically, he oversees the Outreach Van that provides vision screening to under- and uninsured individuals and is studying the cause, and the solution, for avoidable blindness in Oregon.

Internationally, Dr. Brinks focuses on training local surgeons, nurses, public health personnel and technical support staff to build the broad base of professional talent needed to deliver high quality eye care and address avoidable blindness. His international work has taken him to Cambodia, Bhutan, East Timor, Myanmar, Thailand, Guatemala, the Marshall Islands, and the Samoas. Dr. Brinks currently directs collaboration in SE Asia, including an inter-institutional educational partnership with two major eye hospitals in Myanmar, where there is great need for subspecialty training in ophthalmology.

When he’s not traveling, Dr. Brinks still finds time to see patients for Comprehensive Ophthalmology and perform cataract and laser surgery. His interests outside of work include native forest restoration, spearfishing, and archery.

Ross C. Brownson, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis

Ross C. Brownson, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Ross C. Brownson  is the Lipstein Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Director of the Prevention Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis. He studies the translation of evidence to public health practice and policy, with a content focus on environmental and policy determinants of chronic diseases. Dr. Brownson is the author/editor of 15 books and over 550 peer-reviewed articles.

Dr. Brownson has been noted as one of the most productive public health scholars and was named by Thompson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential scientific minds. Dr. Brownson is a former board member of the American Cancer Society and a former president of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. He is also active in the American College of Epidemiology, where he is a past-president. Prior to joining academe, Dr. Brownson was a division director with the Missouri Department of Health.

Robin Casten, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University

Robin Casten, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University

Robin Casten, PhD is a research psychologist and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA.  Dr. Casten received her PhD from Temple University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in gerontology at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center.

Dr. Casten’s research interests include understanding relationships between mental health and age-related vision impairment, and developing behavioral interventions to help older people cope with late onset vision loss.  She has conducted several randomized controlled clinical trials to test the efficacy of behavioral treatments to prevent depression in people who have age-related macular degeneration

R.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA, The Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Illinois at Chicago

R.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA, The Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Illinois at Chicago

R.V. Paul Chan, MD, MSc, MBA 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). He is the Co-Director of the Vitreoretinal Fellowship and serves as Director of the Pediatric Retina and Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Service. 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 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 160 peer reviewed articles and receives grant funding from 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 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 was the founding Executive Editor of the AAO’s Global Ophthalmology (GO) Guide, is an assistant editor for the journal, Retina, and is on the editorial board for 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-Bukle 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.

Michael F. Chiang, MD, Director, National Eye Institute

Michael F. Chiang, MD, Director, National Eye Institute

Michael F. Chiang, MD is Director of the National Eye Institute, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. His clinical practice focuses on pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, and he is board-certified in clinical informatics. His research develops and applies biomedical informatics methods to clinical ophthalmology in areas such as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), telehealth, artificial intelligence, clinical information systems, data science, and genotype-phenotype correlation. His group has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers, and has developed an assistive artificial intelligence system for ROP that received Breakthrough Status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Chang received a BS in Electrical Engineering and Biology from Stanford University in 1991, an MD from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in 1996, and an MA in Biomedical Informatics from Columbia University. He completed residency and pediatric ophthalmology fellowship training at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. Between 2001-2010, he worked at Columbia University, where he was Anne S. Cohen Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Biomedical Informatics, director of medical student education in ophthalmology, and director of the introductory graduate student course in biomedical informatics. From 2010-2020, he worked at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), where he was Knowles Professor of Ophthalmology & Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, and Associate Director of the Casey Eye Institute. He co-directed an NIH-funded T32 training program in visual science for graduate students and research fellows, as well as an NIH-funded K12 clinician-scientist program at OHSU.

He has served as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Board of Trustees, Chair of the AAO IRIS Registry Data Analytics Committee, Chair of the AAO Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, Chair of the AAO Medical Information Technology Committee, and on numerous other national and local committees. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association and on the Editorial Board for Ophthalmology and the Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology, and is Associate Editor of the textbook Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine. He has previously served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and on the Editorial Board for Ophthalmology Retina.

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

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

Dr. Megan E. Collins is an assistant 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. Dr. Collins received her medical degree from the University of Chicago, where she also completed a fellowship in clinical medical ethics. After an internship in internal medicine at the University of Maryland, she returned to the University of Chicago for her residency in ophthalmology, followed by a fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus at the University of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.  ​

Since becoming a faculty member at Wilmer,  Dr. Collins has focused on researching barriers in access to eye care, epidemiology of pediatric eye disease, and the impact of refractive error on academic performance. As part of all of these research areas she currently leads 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 one of the co-founders of the Johns Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions.

John E. Crews, DPA, Retired from CDC Vision Health Initiative

John E. Crews, DPA, Retired from CDC Vision Health Initiative

Dr. John E. Crews has forty years of experience in vision rehabilitation, disability, and vision research. He managed a rehabilitation program for older adults for the Michigan Commission for the Blind between 1977 and 1992. In 1992, he joined the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Rehabilitation Research and Development Center on Aging in Atlanta. Later, he was the Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities.  He joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1998. There, he was the Lead Scientist in the Disability and Health Branch in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and later Senior Scientist with the Vision Health Initiative in the Division of Diabetes Translation.  Dr. Crews retired from CDC in 2017, and since then has served in a variety of consultancy positions.

Dr. Crews’ research interests include vision impairment and aging, multiple chronic conditions and vision, caregiving, and disability. He has presented throughout the United States and in Europe and the Middle East.  He has over 125 publications. His first book, Vision Loss in an Aging Society, was published by AFB Press in 2000, translated, and published in Japan in 2003.  His second book, The Multiple Dimensions of Caregiving and Disability, was released in 2012. In 2012, he co-edited a supplement to the American Journal of Ophthalmology on vision surveillance. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. He is the past-chair of the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association. In 2007, Dr. Crews received the Alumni Achievement Award from the School of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and in 2014, he received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Health and Human Services at Western Michigan University.  In 2015, he received the Corrine Kirchner Research Award from the American Foundation for the Blind. He was the recipient of the 2017 Prevent Blindness Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health, and the recipient of the 2018 American Public Health Association Vision Care Section Outstanding Scientific Paper Award for “Falls among Persons Aged ≥65 Years with and without Severe Vision Impairment—United States, 2014.”  In 2018 he was the invited speaker for the Edmund B. Spaeth Oration, presented by the Glaucoma Service Foundation, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Philadelphia: The Intersection of Public Health and Vision.

Alejandra de Alba Campomanes, MD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco

Alejandra de Alba Campomanes, MD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Alejandra de Alba Campomanes is a pediatric ophthalmologist and strabismus specialist at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF). She holds the Deborah Hoyt and Creig S. Hoyt, MD Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology. She graduated summa cum laude from the School of Medicine at the National University of Mexico. She earned a Master’s in Public Health degree from the University of Arizona, with a concentration in Health Policy and Minority Health.

After completing a residency in ophthalmology at the University of California San Francisco, Dr. de Alba Campomanes pursued fellowship training in Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania. She has been on faculty at the UCSF Department of Ophthalmology since 2009, where she has held multiple positions including Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at the San Francisco General Hospital and Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology at the Benioff Children’s Hospital. Dr. de Alba Campomanes currently serves as department vice-chair for diversity, equity and inclusion and Academic Director of the Pediatric Ophthalmology division.

Amy Dixon, Paralympic Athlete, Glaucoma Eyes International

Amy Dixon, Paralympic Athlete, Glaucoma Eyes International

Amy Dixon is a highly sought out motivational and educational speaker on dozens of subjects. Due to her unique story as a patient with a rare blinding form of Uveitis, Glaucoma and an immune condition, she has inspired thousands of audience members, capturing their hearts while teaching her important message. Her motto, “You don’t need sight to have vision” inspires audiences and teaches them to problem solve in business, medicine and life with her unique five-step approach and use of teams and resources around you.

Amy is an award-winning speaker, having worked with the Dale Carnegie Course as an assistant speaking coach, and now works full time as a US Paratriathlon National Team member, currently ranked number one in the United States and number six in the world. She is a hopeful for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Team and funds all of her overseas racing by speaking to live and virtual audiences.

Laura Dreer, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Laura Dreer, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Laura Dreer is a tenured Associate Professor and Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She also holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Neurology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Psychology. She is a licensed clinical medical rehabilitation and neuropsychologist, scientist practitioner by training, with extensive expertise in developing, evaluating, delivering, and assessing the impact of medical psychological rehabilitation interventions, neuropsychological assessments, health behaviors, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) based health promotion programs, health disparities, and capacity-related issues among people with chronic health conditions and disabilities. She is the Director of the UAB Behavioral Health and Clinical Research Services that focuses on both clinical and research efforts across disabilities and age groups. Dr. Dreer also developed and directs the UAB Connections Social Support Group for Patients with a Vision Impairment and Their Families.

Dr. Dreer has conducted an independently funded program of research on personal and familial adjustment to a variety of chronic medical conditions (e.g., traumatic brain injury; vision impairment). Her research program has also focused on the development and evaluation of evidence-based CBT-based health promotion and behavioral health approaches for patients and/or their family caregivers (e.g. to minimize depression, foster resilience, enhance health knowledge, promote skills leading to healthy lifestyle behaviors). Dr. Dreer has secured extramural funding through the National Institute on Disability and Independent Living Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), National Institutes of Health (National Eye Institute; National Institute on Child & Health Development; National Institute on Aging), Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), the Brain Tumor Network (BTN), the Wise Up! Concussion Initiative of the Al and Sharyne Wallace Foundation, the Alabama Head Injury Foundation (AHIF), EyeSight Foundation of Alabama (ESFA), and the International Retinal Research Foundation (IRRF). Dr. Dreer is well recognized for her national reputation in medical rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury, and low vision rehabilitation related research as she is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) Centers via NIDILRR, a former Editorial Board member for Rehabilitation Psychology, Co-Chair of the Alabama Return-to-Learn Concussion Task Force, Regional Board Member of the Alabama Head Injury Foundation (AHIF), and a Member of the Alabama Statewide Concussion Task Force. She is heavily involved as a PI and Co-Investigator on several studies examining the impact of health promoting interventions on health outcomes among people with disabilities and is PI on the UAB Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (UAB TBIMS) Center grant site project, and a PI on a funded NIH R01 to evaluate the impact of a CBT intervention for improving glaucoma medication management among African Americans. Dr. Dreer has also served as an NIH scientific grant reviewer on several study sections on proposals related to health disparities and behavioral health. Dr. Dreer has an excellent track record of adjustment to disability and health disparities research (e.g., diabetic retinopathy, low vision, and concussion/TBI), clinical work, and service. She has an independently funded patient-oriented research program with no gap in funding and is heavily involved in team science based multidisciplinary research.

Angela Elam, MD, University of Michigan

Angela Elam, MD, University of Michigan

Dr. Angela Elam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Michigan. She is a glaucoma specialist and a health disparities researcher with a focus on community-based interventions to increase eye care utilization in individuals at high-risk for vision loss. Dr. Elam is a native of Virginia and attended the University of Pittsburgh for undergrad, where she received a BS in Neuroscience and a BA in Spanish. Before attending Duke University for medical school, she was a middle school Spanish teacher.  After her time at Duke, she went back to the University of Pittsburgh for residency, followed by a glaucoma fellowship at the University of Michigan and subsequently joined the faculty there.

Dr. Elam’s mission is to conduct and publish research in ophthalmology that informs health policy and moves our field toward achieving equity in eye care. As such, she has authored multiple publications exploring sociodemographic disparities in eye care and is currently leading the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s White Paper Disparities Sub-taskforce, which has been charged with publishing a roadmap for the Academy and its members to combat existing disparities in eye health and care. In 2020, she was the recipient of the prestigious Fight for Sight and Prevent Blindness Joanne Angle Public Health Award. In addition to being a busy clinician and researcher, Dr. Elam is a wife and mother to two children, ages 4 and 2.

David Friedman, MD, PhD, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

David Friedman, MD, PhD, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Dr. David Friedman is the Alfred and Diane Kaneb Professor of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Director of the Glaucoma Division, and the Medical Director of Clinical Research. Until May 2019, he was the Alfred Sommer Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with joint appointments as Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  He also was the director of the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, the only World Health Organization collaborating center for vision in the United States.  He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and received an MPH and a PhD in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Friedman has pursued excellence in clinical care, research and education, and is considered a leader in all three fields.  As a clinician he has been a “Best Doctor” for many years, and has been selected for the Power 100 list of leading ophthalmologists globally in 2016, 2018 and 2020.  Dr. Friedman’s research has focused on angle closure glaucoma, ophthalmic epidemiology, and glaucoma therapy with an emphasis on medication adherence among glaucoma patients.  Dr. Friedman co-edited a definitive book on angle-closure glaucoma and has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles.  He has served on the editorial boards of Ophthalmology, the Cochrane Collaboration, and the Journal of Glaucoma, and plays a leadership role in the World Glaucoma Association. He was the Senior Ophthalmologist for Helen Keller International, a large nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating blindness worldwide and is a Board member of Orbis International.  He recently completed a CDC-funded program to identify novel approaches to screen underserved populations for eye diseases, especially glaucoma, and helped lead a Hilton Foundation project to work towards expanding the care provided by successful eyecare institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Friedman is world renown for his contributions to the study of the mechanisms, epidemiology and prevention of angle-closure glaucoma.  Over the last 20 years he has worked closely with researchers in Singapore, Guangzhou, Beijing and south India on this research.  He identified novel dynamic risk factors for angle closure.  His work formed the foundation for two seminal studies of angle-closure glaucoma treatment including the EAGLE Trial and the Zhongshan Angle-Closure Prevention (ZAP) Study, both of which were published in Lancet. Dr. Friedman was a key member of the EAGLE Trial study team, a pivotal research study that demonstrated that early lens extraction is effective at treating angle-closure glaucoma. He was the co-principal investigator of the ZAP study which screened over 10,000 individuals in order to determine if prophylactic laser iridotomy is effective at preventing angle-closure glaucoma. Dr. Friedman is a member of the Glaucoma Research Society (limited to the 100 leading glaucoma researchers) and the Alcon Research Institute (composed of the top six researchers in ophthalmology each year).

Leon W. Herndon, Jr., MD, Duke Eye Center

Leon W. Herndon, Jr., MD, Duke Eye Center

Dr. Leon W. Herndon, Jr. is Professor of Ophthalmology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.  He earned his MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and served his internship and residency at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill.  Dr. Herndon then completed a clinical fellowship in glaucoma at Duke University Medical Center.

Dr. Herndon is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and was a member of the first class of the Leadership Development Program. He has authored over 100 papers, lectured nationally and internationally, and has participated in several research projects related to glaucoma.  He currently serves as Chief of the Glaucoma Division at the Duke University Eye Center where he has trained 74 clinical fellows.  Dr. Herndon has been recognized for his service in the community by receiving the Senior Achievement Award from the AAO and the Dedicated Humanitarian Service Award presented by Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, President of the Dominican Republic, on the occasion of the 2nd Ophthalmology Mission in the Dominican Republic. Dr. Herndon is the recipient of the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award from the UNC School of Medicine, and was the Surgery Day Lecturer at the American Glaucoma Society Annual Meeting in 2019. He is founder of the North Carolina Glaucoma Club, and the chair of the Glaucoma Clinical Committee of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons as well as secretary of the American Glaucoma Society.

Dr. Herndon’s research interests include studying novel treatment approaches in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. He has ongoing research projects evaluating the high prevalence of primary open-angle glaucoma in Ghana, West Africa, where he travels yearly.

Cynthia Hillyer, MPA, Minneapolis Public Schools

Cynthia Hillyer, MPA, Minneapolis Public Schools

Cindy Hillyer is a director in the Early Childhood Education Department at Minneapolis Public Schools. Throughout her career, Cindy has led public health and education initiatives focused on cross sector collaboration and advancing equity.

She currently serves on the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration Advisory Board, the Executive Committee of the City of Minneapolis Child Friendly City Initiative, and chairs the Minnesota Early Childhood Vision Health Task Force — a National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health Better Vision Together team.

Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka is a Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy, a Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), and Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG (the Coalition) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Iruka is leading projects and initiatives focused on how evidence-informed policies, systems, and practices in the early years can support the optimal development and experiences of minoritized children and children from low-income households and communities. Her work focuses on ensuring that children start off well through family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education system and programs.

Dr. Iruka focuses on ensuring excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children and their families, through the intersection of anti-bias, anti-racist, culturally grounded research, program, and policy. Dr. Iruka serves and has served on numerous national and local boards and committees, including the Brady Education Foundation, Trust for Learning, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees, the American Psychological Association’s Board of Educational Affairs, and the National Advisory Committee for the U.S. Census Bureau.  She has a BA in Psychology from Temple University, an MA in Psychology from Boston University, and an MS and PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Miami, FL.

Bruce Ksander, PhD, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School

Bruce Ksander, PhD, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Bruce Ksander received his PhD in Immunology from the University of Illinois while studying the immune response to herpes keratitis in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Hendricks at the Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary. His postdoctoral fellowship was with Dr. J Wayne Streilein at the University of Miami Medical School and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami Florida where he studied the immune mechanisms that regulate ocular immune privilege to corneal allografts and intraocular tumors.

Dr. Ksander is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Scientist at the Schepens Eye Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He conducts research in three main areas: (i) understanding the function of inflammation during the development of glaucoma, (ii) restoration of the corneal epithelium using limbal stem cells, and (iii) the reversal of aging by epigenetic reprogramming.

Elizabeth Lundeen, PhD, MPH, Vision Health Initiative, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Elizabeth Lundeen, PhD, MPH, Vision Health Initiative, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Elizabeth Lundeen is a Senior Scientist in the Vision Health Initiative at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She manages the development of CDC’s Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System and leads epidemiological and health services research on vision health and eye diseases. The Vision Health Initiative is located within CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, and Dr. Lundeen’s research has focused on diabetic retinopathy.

Dr. Lundeen’s interests also include the social determinants of health, health disparities, machine learning, and the use of electronic health record data to conduct population health research. She came to CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer in 2015 and completed her fellowship in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. She began her public health career by spending five years working for the Swiss Red Cross in Kyrgyzstan working with village health committees and implementing a home fortification program to address childhood anemia. Dr. Lundeen received her MPH in health policy from Yale School of Public Health and PhD in nutritional epidemiology from Emory University.

Stephanie Jones Marioneaux, MD, PC, Prevent Blindness Board Member

Stephanie Jones Marioneaux, MD, PC, Prevent Blindness Board Member

Dr. Stephanie Jones Marioneaux is a solo private ophthalmologist specializing in cornea and external diseases and general ophthalmology in the Tidewater Virginia area for 20 years. She specializes in cataract surgery, laser procedures and corneal transplants.

Dr. Marioneaux is currently an Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, teaching residents and medical students.

Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN, CAE, FNASN, National Association of School Nurses

Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN, CAE, FNASN, National Association of School Nurses

Since 2011, Donna Mazyck has been executive director of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). While in undergraduate school, Ms. Mazyck determined a nursing degree would be foundational in her plan to return to her community to help individuals and groups become healthier in a variety of ways. She has been a nurse in community settings for most of her career. She worked as a school nurse in high school and alternative school settings.

For 13 years at the Maryland State Department of Education, Ms. Mazyck provided consultation and leadership to local school health services and school-based health center programs. In that role, she worked with stakeholders in the development of school health policies and regulations. For decades, Ms. Mazyck prioritized collaborations with vision care providers and school nurses to champion student vision and eye health. She holds current certifications in school nursing, counseling, and as an association executive. Ms. Mazyck prioritizes leading staff and collaborating with organizations to optimize student health, safety, and learning.

Nancy D. Miller, LMSW, VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Nancy D. Miller, LMSW, VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Nancy D. Miller works with people of all ages who are blind and multi-disabled, along with their families and unpaid caregivers. She is Executive Director/CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired since 1987. VISIONS serves 7000 people each year with in-home, community and center-based day and overnight services. VISIONS annual budget is $10.3 million with a staff of 107 fulltime and part time. VISIONS has scored number one in New York State for job placements of legally blind New Yorkers from 2016-2020.

Ms. Miller has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and a Master of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University in group work and aging. She is a founder and President of the New York Vision Rehabilitation Association and serves on the Priorities and Policy Committee of the Human Services Council. She is a co-Founder and Board member of the Disabilities Network of NYC, Vice-President of the 500 Greenwich Street Condominium Board of Directors and Board member of LiveOn NY, an aging network advocacy organization. She is co-chair of the Public Awareness Committee of the VisionServe Alliance and on the Advisory Council to the Commissioner of the NYC Department for the Aging.

Bobeck S. Modjtahedi, MD, Southern California Permanente Medical Group

Bobeck S. Modjtahedi, MD, Southern California Permanente Medical Group

Dr. Bobeck S. Modjtahedi is a vitreoretinal surgeon at the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG)/Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) where he also serves as the Director of the Eye Monitoring Center, which provides tele-ophthalmology care, and the Electrophysiology and Retinal Degeneration Service.  He is a Clinician Investigator in the SCPMG Department of Research and Evaluation and is the Co-Chair for the Center for Ophthalmology Research and Innovation which helps coordinate Kaiser Permanente’s ophthalmology research nationally.

Dr. Modjtahedi has an interest in predictive analytics and developing public health initiatives to improve clinical outcomes. He has led several projects on myopia and served as the lead author of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s white paper entitled “Reducing the Global Burden of Myopia by Delaying the Onset of Myopia and Reducing Myopic Progression in Children: The Academy’s Task Force on Myopia.”

M. Kathleen Murphy, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Board Chair, Prevent Blindness, University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing

M. Kathleen Murphy, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Board Chair, Prevent Blindness, University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing

Dr. M. Kathleen Murphy has led population-based health program design and implementation regionally, nationally and internationally primarily with persons and populations historically under-resourced and underserved. Currently, she is the Associate Dean for Inclusivity, Global Health & Community Engagement, and the A. O. Stubblefield Professor of Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) School of Nursing. Dr. Murphy has a long-standing interest in policy and vision health and continues to advance work in both of these areas through leadership roles in not-for-profit and community agencies at the intersection of policy and practice.

Dr. Murphy is Chair, Prevent Blindness Board of Directors, and she also serves on the Advisory Committee to the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health. She is a fellow of the International Council of Nurses Global Nursing Leadership Institute (2018), the American Academy of Nursing (2015), and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows Program (2004-2007).

Jacquelyn O’Banion, MD, MSc, Emory University

Jacquelyn O'Banion, MD, MSc, Emory University

Dr. Jacquelyn O’Banion is a comprehensive ophthalmologist and Director of Global Ophthalmology at Emory Eye Center in the Emory University School of Medicine. She practices clinically and performs cataract surgery as well as teaching residents in the clinic and OR at Grady Memorial Hospital. As the Director of Global Ophthalmology, she oversees the clinical, research and academic outreach endeavors of Emory Eye Center.

Dr. O’Banion does work locally throughout Georgia as well as in Ethiopia and Eswatini. She helped found and establish the Georgia Vision 2020 Collaborative which brings together eye care not-for-profits and providers across the state to ensure adequate access to eye care across the state. She has done extensive work in Georgia to understand the eye care needs of the population and work towards the elimination of avoidable blindness.

Yvonne Ou, MD, University of California San Francisco

Yvonne Ou, MD, University of California San Francisco

Dr. Yvonne Ou is an Associate Professor, Vice Chair for Postgraduate Education, and Academic Director of the Glaucoma Division in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She is also the Co-Director of the UCSF-Proctor K12 Clinician Vision Scholars Program. Dr. Ou received her BA and MD, both magna cum laude, from Harvard. She underwent residency training at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA, and then completed both clinical and postdoctoral fellowships at Duke University. She is the recipient of the Young Investigator Award from the Alcon Research Institute and the Dr. Douglas H. Johnson Award for Glaucoma Research from the BrightFocus Foundation.

Dr. Ou specializes in the treatment of glaucoma with medical, laser, and surgical therapies, the latter including cataract surgery, microinvasive glaucoma procedures, filtering surgery, and drainage implant surgery.

The research interests of the Ou laboratory are in the area of neurodegeneration, circuit disassembly and reassembly, and neuronal plasticity. The team is studying the cellular and synaptic mechanisms of retinal ganglion cell degeneration and identifying specific types of ganglion cells and circuits that are particularly susceptible, with an eye for improving diagnostic and treatment modalities for patients. The group also has developed translational applications from the team’s laboratory findings, specifically novel clinical ERG paradigms and virtual-reality based oculokinetic perimetry for glaucoma diagnostics.

Shervonne Poleon, University of Alabama at Birmingham Vision Science Graduate Program Student

Shervonne Poleon, University of Alabama at Birmingham Vision Science Graduate Program Student

Shervonne Poleon is a PhD student in the Vision Science Graduate Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She originally hails from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and completed her undergraduate training at Grambling State University.

Due to an early experience with blindness of a loved one, Shervonne has a keen interest in health psychology, and her research focuses on addressing sociobehavioral barriers to optimal medication adherence in glaucoma. In her spare time, Ms. Poleon enjoys English literature and learning to play bass guitar.

Rajeev S. Ramchandran, MD, MBA, Chair, Prevent Blindness Scientific Committee, Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester

Rajeev S. Ramchandran, MD, MBA, Chair, Prevent Blindness Scientific Committee, Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester

Dr. Rajeev Ramchandran is a vitreoretinal surgeon and the Director of Population Eye Health at the Flaum Eye Institute in the University of Rochester, where he is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology.

Working in a multidisciplinary team, he is developing and deploying population health-based strategies to achieve universal vision and eye health in Western New York. Using population, improvement, and implementation science, Dr. Ramchandran is studying how to best use technology-based interventions in the community, including teleophthalmology, to promote eye health and wellness before people become patients.

David B. Rein, PhD, MPA, NORC at the University of Chicago

David B. Rein, PhD, MPA, NORC at the University of Chicago

David Rein is the Director of NORC’s Public Health Analytics Program and the Principal Investigator for CDC’s Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS).

Dr. Rein is a health services researcher with a specialization in public health policy.  He has worked on projects studying the epidemiology and economics of vision-threatening conditions since 2003.

L. Penny Rosenblum, PhD, American Foundation for the Blind

L. Penny Rosenblum, PhD, American Foundation for the Blind

Dr. Penny Rosenblum is the Director of Research at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). In the year and a half she has been with the organization, she has led projects to examine the impact of COVID-19 on adults with visual impairments and education of students with visual impairments.

In addition, Dr. Rosenblum has done work with AFB’s Blind Leaders Development Program, a study with Guide Dogs for the Blind, and research to examine technology use in the workplace by those who are blind or have low vision. She is a teacher of students with visual impairments and spent more than 25 years in academia before joining AFB.

Mandie Cody Schadwinkel, Prevent Blindness A.S.P.E.C.T. Graduate

Mandie Cody Schadwinkel, Prevent Blindness A.S.P.E.C.T. Graduate

Mandie Schadwinkel is a recent graduate of the A.S.P.E.C.T. program through Prevent Blindness. She has a family member that has been diagnosed with Stargardts and was glad to be connected with more resources.

Mandie has an MEd and has been involved in Montessori education for 20 years as a teacher and administrator. She is from Nebraska and is currently living in Southern California with her husband and two teenage children.

Ruth Shoge, OD, MPH, University of California Berkeley School of Optometry

Ruth Y. Shoge, OD, MPH, FAAO, Salus University

Dr. Ruth Shoge received her Doctor of Optometry degree from and completed a residency in Pediatrics and Vision Therapy at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO).  She received her Master of Public Health from Temple University with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Science.  During that time, she developed a special interest in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, which includes addressing health disparity concerns through cultural competency training, recruitment and retention strategies, and curriculum reform.  Her final master’s project was titled “Social Experiences of Underrepresented Minority Optometry Students.”  She is the Director of the Summer Enrichment Program at PCO, a program aimed at improving the recruitment, matriculation, and graduation of underrepresented minority students.  She currently serves as Chair of ASCO’s Diversity and Cultural Competency Committee, which promotes racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion initiatives at optometric institutions.  She recently created and is chair of an advisory board at PCO that will review the curriculum and implement strategies to ensure continuity in culturally competent education from matriculation to graduation.  Dr. Shoge also recently started her own consulting company to deliver lectures and workshops to academic, research, corporate, and student members of the optometric industry.

As a clinical educator, Dr. Shoge’s specialties include pediatric care, binocular vision disorders, vision disorders related to traumatic brain injury, and vision therapy.  In the clinical setting, Dr. Shoge aims to provide and model clinical competence and cultural humility to her students as they care for their patients.  She serves as an investigator in several federally funded research studies which investigate pediatric and adult visual conditions such as amblyopia, strabismus, myopia, and concussion-related vision disorders.  She has also had the opportunity to present nationally and internationally about binocular vision, vision therapy, and the management of concussion-related vision disorders and has delivered cultural competency workshops.

Steven M. Silverstein, PhD, University of Rochester Medical Center

Steven M. Silverstein, PhD, University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Steven Silverstein is The George L. Engel Professor of Psychosocial Medicine, the Associate Chair for Research in Psychiatry, a Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Ophthalmology, a member of the Center for Visual Science, and the Director of the Center for Retina and Brain at the University of Rochester Medical Center. His research interests are in: 1) retinal, perceptual (visual) and cognitive changes in people with psychiatric and medical conditions; and 2) emotional adjustment and mental health challenges among people experiencing vision loss.

Prior to joining the University of Rochester, Dr. Silverstein was at Rutgers University, where he established Eye-2-Eye, a peer-led telehealth program for people adjusting to vision loss. Dr. Silverstein has over 270 publications, and has received grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, state offices of mental health, and multiple foundations.

Anand Swaroop, PhD, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Anand Swaroop, PhD, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Swaroop obtained his PhD at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and completed postdoctoral training at Yale University in molecular biology and human genetics. He then joined the faculty at the University of Michigan (UM) in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and in Human Genetics. Dr. Swaroop held the Harold F. Falls Collegiate Professorship at UM when he was recruited in 2007 to establish the Neurobiology-Neurodegeneration and Repair Laboratory at the National Eye Institute (NEI) for advancing research in retinal development and disease.

The studies in Dr. Swaroop’s laboratory have focused on genetic and epigenetic regulation of photoreceptor development, evolution and aging, mechanisms of photoreceptor dysfunction in retinal neurodegeneration, genetics of age-related macular degeneration, and design of new therapeutic paradigms using cell, gene or small molecule-based approaches. Dr. Swaroop has received many honors and awards, including the National Institute of Health Director’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Award “for exemplary performance while demonstrating significant leadership, skill and ability in serving as a mentor” in 2013, and the NEI Director’s Diversity Champion Award “in recognition of a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion” in 2020. He has trained over 500 students, interns and fellows.  A number of his trainees hold faculty or scientist positions at institutions globally and in biomedical industry. Dr. Swaroop has published over 350 articles (Scopus h-index=75) and delivered 300 invited lectures (including several named and keynote talks) worldwide.

Jeff Todd, President & CEO, 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.

Dean VanNasdale, OD, PhD, FAAO, The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Dean VanNasdale, OD, PhD, FAAO, The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Dr. Dean VanNasdale received his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University in 2003 and completed a cornea and contact lens residency at Indiana University in 2004. He received a Master of Science degree in Clinical Research and a PhD in Vision Science from Indiana University in 2011.  Dr. VanNasdale has a research focus in population health data analysis.  Using multiple, complementary datasets, he studies associations between health determinants and vision impairment on a local, county, state, and national scale.  The goal of this research is to improve insight into the underlying cause of vision impairment, identify common co-morbid conditions, and educate broad stakeholder groups.  This analysis helps quantify the impact of vision impairment, identify areas where resources are needed to reduce vision impairment, and inform policy development.

Dr. VanNasdale is engaged in advanced retinal imaging research, with an emphasis on normal aging changes and the identification of early pathological changes associated with diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.  Dr. VanNasdale is also a clinical instructor in the Contact Lens Services at Ohio State University’s College of Optometry.

Fuensanta A. Vera-Diaz, OD, PhD, FAAO, New England College of Optometry

Fuensanta A. Vera-Diaz, OD, PhD, FAAO, New England College of Optometry

Dr. Fuensanta Vera-Diaz is an expert in myopia control, from both a scientific and clinical perspective. She received a PhD in Optometry from the University of Bradford, UK, for her work investigating optical and neural factors in myopia. She then undertook a postdoctoral research position at New England College of Optometry (NECO) and a research fellowship at Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard Medical School.

As a tenured Associate Professor at NECO, Dr. Vera-Diaz has developed a successful research program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She investigates mechanisms contributing to the development of myopia; specifically, optical, retinal and visual processing structures and functions of the human visual system. Dr. Vera-Diaz has a strong publication record and serves as a reviewer for multiple journals and is a reviewer in NIH study panel sections. She also leads NECO’s Myopia Control Clinic.

Siegfried Karl Wagner, MD, FRCOphth, University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital

Siegfried Karl Wagner, BMBCh, MA, MRCP, FRCOphth University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital

Dr. Siegfried Wagner qualified in Medicine from the University of Oxford in 2012 having graduated in neurosciences in 2009. He moved to London to commence ophthalmology specialty training thereafter and, in 2016, became an academic clinical fellow funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) exploring machine learning for retinal image analysis.

Dr. Wagner’s PhD focuses on improving the understanding of how the eye changes in systemic diseases, such as dementia and cardiovascular disease. Using retinal imaging with both traditional statistics and modern artificial intelligence techniques, he evaluates the potential of leveraging retinal structure as a proxy for general physiology. He is funded as a clinical research training fellow by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

M. Roy Wilson, MD, MS Wayne State University

M. Roy Wilson, MD, MS Wayne State University

Dr. M. Roy Wilson became the 12th president of Wayne State University on August 1, 2013. Prior to joining Wayne State, President Wilson served as deputy director for strategic scientific planning and program coordination at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.

Previously, he was dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for health sciences at Creighton University, president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver and chair of the Board of Directors of University of Colorado Hospital/Anschutz Medical Campus. President Wilson also chaired the Board of Directors of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and was acting president during part of that time.

President Wilson’s research has focused on glaucoma and blindness in populations from the Caribbean to West Africa. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (Institute of Medicine). President Wilson received his undergraduate degree from Allegheny College, an MS in epidemiology from the University of California Los Angeles, and an MD from Harvard Medical School.

John Wittenborn, NORC at the University of Chicago

John Wittenborn, NORC at the University of Chicago

John Wittenborn is a research data scientist in the Public Health Analytics program at NORC at the University of Chicago.  His background is in health economics, burden of illness and surveillance with a particular interest in visual health. He is currently serving as the Project Director for the Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System.

Karen Woodhouse, MS, Eyes on Learning

Karen Woodhouse, Eyes on Learning

Karen Woodhouse is the Director of Eyes on Learning, a statewide coalition of partners and organizations committed to improving children’s vision. She believes that every child should experience their best vision health and learning success. Using collaborative partnerships to develop policy and programs, she is experienced in building statewide system initiatives from the ground up. Her prior roles include Chief Program Officer at First Things First, where she strived for continuous improvement of early childhood systems, including preventative screening for developmental delays and hearing and vision concerns.

As Deputy Associate Superintendent at the Arizona Department of Education, she established the department’s Early Childhood Education Division. Karen completed a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Arizona, and throughout her career has focused her passion for young children on increasing equitable opportunities for rich early childhood experiences, healthy development and learning success.

Pre-Event: The Ohio Aging Eye Summit

Presenter Biographies

Jonathan Lass, MD, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine

Jonathan Lass, MD, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine

Dr. Jonathan Lass is the Charles I Thomas Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the University Hospitals (UH) Eye Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, Medical Director of Eversight Ohio, and Director of the UH Eye Image Analysis Reading Centers. After completing his ophthalmology residency at Boston University Medical Center in 1977, he went on to complete a two-year fellowship in cornea and external diseases at Harvard’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Eye Research Institute of the Retina Foundation. He joined the faculty at CWRU and UH in 1979 and became chair of the Department in 1993, serving until 2013. He also served as program director of the residency program at CWRU and UH during this same period. He is currently Senior Editor of the journal, Cornea and received the Senior Honor Award from the AAO in 2004, the R. Townley Paton Award from the EBAA in 2012, and received the Castroviejo Award from the Cornea Society in 2017. He is currently the medical director of the Cornea Image Analysis Reading Center in Cleveland and Medical Director of Eversight Ohio. Dr. Lass has research interests in the area of corneal physiology, genetics, cornea image analysis, and clinical trials of corneal disease with over 200 publications with funding from the National Eye Institute (NEI) for these studies over the past 25 years. Most recently he was the study chair of the NEI-funded multi-center prospective clinical trial, the Cornea Preservation Time Study (CPTS) between 2011 and 2019, which found that preservation time of the donor up to 11 days did not impact long term graft survival and endothelial cell loss following Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK). He is now the study chair the NEI funded multi-center prospective clinical trial, the Diabetes Endothelial Keratoplasty Study (DEKS) that will examine the impact of diabetes and its severity in the donor and recipient on Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) outcomes. With diabetes in nearly 40% of the donor pool, determining which donors with diabetes are suitable and which are not is a very important question to address. He is an avid cellist and founding member of the World Doctors Orchestra (www.world-doctorsorchestra.org) since 2008. The orchestra has given concerts around the world and raised over 1 million euros for local charities. He most recently performed with the group in Paris and Houston in 2019 with the next concert post-Covid planned with the group in Frankfurt and Koblenz, Germany this coming November.

Marcus J. Molea, AICP, Ohio Department of Aging (Retired), Co-Chair Ohio’s Aging Eye Public Private Partnership, Advocacy and Awareness Sub-Committee

Marcus J. Molea, AICP, Ohio Department of Aging (Retired), Co-Chair Ohio’s Aging Eye Public Private Partnership, Advocacy and Awareness Sub-Committee

Marc Molea retired from the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) in 2019. At ODA he served as Chief of the Older Americans Act Programs and Strategic Partnerships Divisions for 24 years. Prior to coming to ODA, he held various planning and economic development positions in Ohio.

Currently he serves on various the boards, councils and committees, including Chair Elect for Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate, Advisory Committee Member for National Center for Vision and Population Health, and Emeritus Board Member for Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education.

He has Bachelors of Business Administration and Masters of Health Administration from Ohio University, and a Masters of City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

He is recipient of the Soar Award, VANTAGE Aging (2019); Lifetime Achievement Award, Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education (2018); Charles B. Jenkins Legacy Award, Employment for Seniors (2017); and Muriel Bertsch Award, Ohio Association of Senior Centers (2013). He was an Ohio delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.

Sayoko E. Moroi, MD, PhD, The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Sayoko E. Moroi, MD, PhD, The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Sayoko Moroi, MD, PhD, is a board certified and glaucoma fellowship trained ophthalmologist. She is a clinician-scientist and has served as principal investigator, multi-principal investigator and co-investigator of NEI/NIH grants, NSF grant, private foundation grants, and industry-sponsored FDA glaucoma trials. After 25-years of service at University of Michigan, she returned in 2020 to her alma mater of The Ohio State University (OSU) to serve as chair in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She has a diverse research portfolio of genetics, glaucoma, precision medicine for eye health, technology, mobility, and women’s health. She is committed to mentoring and sponsoring individuals at all levels of training and work force positions. She is committed to address and overcome disparities for women and underrepresented minorities. Dr. Moroi expanded her educational journey on implicit bias and is a certified facilitator through OSU Wexner Medical Center Diversity Council. Together with the outstanding faculty, staff and collaborators, we aspire to decrease glaucoma-related blindness.

Robert Sisk, MD, University of Cincinnati Department of Ophthalmology

Robert Sisk, MD, University of Cincinnati Department of Ophthalmology

Dr. Robert A. Sisk is a Board-Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. His peers selected him as one of The Best Doctors in America. Dr. Sisk is actively engaged in clinical research and ophthalmic education. Dr. Sisk is a principal investigator or co-investigator for many FDA-regulated investigational drug trials and studies for identification and treatment of genetic eye diseases. Dr. Sisk performs cell therapy and gene therapy procedures, including the FDA-approved gene therapy, Luxturna®. He is an Associate Professor of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati, where he educates residents and fellows in vitreoretinal surgery. He is the author of numerous publications in the peer-reviewed ophthalmic literature and presents regularly at international clinical and scientific meetings.

Dr. Sisk serves adults and older children at the Cincinnati Eye Institute offices in Edgewood, Kentucky and Blue Ash, Ohio. He provides care for neonates, infants, and young children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, a top three hospital nationally, where he is Director of Pediatric Vitreoretinal Surgery and Director of Ophthalmic Genetics. While he routinely manages all forms of medical and surgical diseases of the retina in adults, Dr. Sisk has specialized expertise in pediatric retinal surgery, retinal dystrophies, and retinal electrophysiology.

Jeffrey Walline, OD, PhD, The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Jeffrey Walline, OD, PhD, The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Jeffrey J. Walline, OD PhD is the Associate Dean for Research at The Ohio State University College of Optometry. He received his Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry, and he received his Master’s and PhD degrees from The Ohio State University College of Optometry. Dr. Walline has led several pediatric contact lens studies, and he is the Study Chair of the Bifocal Lenses In Nearsighted Kids (BLINK) Study, a National Eye Institute-sponsored randomized clinical trial to investigate the myopia control effects of soft multifocal contact lenses.