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Rising Visionary Award

The Prevent Blindness Rising Visionary Award is presented annually to an optometry, ophthalmology, primary health care, nursing, or other health professional student or resident in the United States who has the best overall application and essay addressing the 2022 Focus on Eye Health National Summit theme: Eye-conic Approaches to Eye Health. This esteemed award consists of formal acknowledgement and a commemorative plaque to be presented at the Focus on Eye Health National Summit virtually on July 13, 2022. The award accompanies an invitation to present on their essay and related work as a speaker of the Summit.

2022 Rising Visionary Award

Prevent Blindness is pleased to announce the co-recipient of the third annual “Rising Visionary Award” as Marissa K. Shoji, MD, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

Dr. Shoji’s essay, “A Guiding Light: A Vision for the Future,” addressed racial and gender disparities in eyecare. She outlined the need for a national program focusing on fostering diversity in ophthalmology, including recruitment of individuals at all stages of training, from interested high school students to fully-licensed practitioners with special emphasis on both underrepresented minorities and women.

Marissa K.Shoji, MD

2022 Rising Visionary Award

Prevent Blindness is pleased to announce the co-recipient of the third annual “Rising Visionary Award” as Hursuong Vongsachang, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Vongsachang’s award submission detailed the need and benefit for school-based vision care to be available widely and sustainably. She hopes that her current work in program implementation can one day translate into nationwide availability of school-based vision services through advocacy, stakeholder engagement and continued research. The goal is to bridge gaps in vision care access for children in need.

Hursuong Vongsachang, MPH

Application Criteria

Current student or resident in the United States in one of the following fields of study: optometry, ophthalmology, primary health care, nursing, or another health-related field. The applicant with the best overall application and essay based on a question related to the 2022 Focus on Eye Health National Summit theme: Eye-conic Approaches to Eye Health will receive the award. The awardee must be available to present virtually at the 2022 Focus on Eye Health National Summit on July 13th, 2022.

Submission Requirements

Please note: Submissions not adhering to the guidelines below (responding to each of the three individual essay questions, page limits, word count, etc.) will not be considered.

  • Application Cover Sheet and Instructions (MS Word)
  • Essay: 500-word essay answering a question based on the 2022 Focus on Eye Health National Summit theme: Eye-conic Approaches to Eye Health. QUESTION: What “eye-conic” individual, group, program, or research discovery will have a significant impact on the future of eye health in the U.S? Describe your reasoning. (Note: Respond to each question below separately and clearly separate out sections.)
  1. Describe the eye-conic individual, group, program, or research discovery. (100 words)
  2. How will it positively impact vision and eye health in the U.S.? (250 words)
  3. Explain the systems or processes that will need to change for these accomplishments to be made. (150 words)
  • Curriculum Vitae and Personal Statement: Submit a one-page curriculum vitae containing higher educational accomplishments and current status, positions and employment, honors, professional memberships, and other experience. Please include a 200-word personal statement which describes the relevant academic, experiential and leadership training that prepared you for this essay. Click here for a curriculum vitae example.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Up to two recent letters of recommendation from a professor, employer, mentor or other professional with an advisory or supervisory role during the program of study. The letter should describe the terms and duration of the relationship with the applicant (two-page maximum for each letter).

Download the Application Cover Sheet and Instructions

The submission deadline for all applications is Friday, February 4th, 2022 at noon ET

2021 Rising Visionary Award

Prevent Blindness is pleased to announce the recipient of the second annual Rising Visionary Award” as Ms. Shervonne Poleon, Vision Science Graduate Program student, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Ms. Poleon’s essay, “Prioritizing Wellness in Eye Care,” outlined the need for “eye care facilitators,” whose focus would be the social and psychological wellness of patients, with the goal of improving visual outcomes by directly addressing socio-behavioral factors that limit care delivery and efficacy.

Shervonne Poleon

2020 Rising Visionary Award

Araba Otoo, a third-year optometry student at The Ohio State University, was selected as the first recipient of the Prevent Blindness Rising Visionary Award. The award recognizes an optometry student or resident, ophthalmology resident, or other health care professional student or resident in the United States who has the best essay based on a question related to the 2020 Focus on Eye Health National Summit theme, “An Eye to the Future.” Otoo’s essay featured ideas on public education and awareness tactics to create the most impactful change to improve the future outlook of vision and eye health.

Araba Otoo