ASCO Announces Special Recognition Award Recipients

ASCO Announces Special Recognition Award Recipients

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) announces the recipients of the 2022 Special Recognition Awards.

“Congratulations to all the 2022 ASCO award recipients,” said Dr. Kelly Nichols, ASCO President. “I am delighted we could celebrate these significant contributions and successes at this year’s Annual Business Meeting. The recipients are the best and brightest and we appreciate the support and talent they have given to ASCO over the years.”

ASCO Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. David S. Loshin is this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

David S. Loshin received his BS degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in Photographic Science and Instrumentation with emphasis in optical engineering. He completed his professional degree in Optometry and his MS and PhD in Physiological Optics at The Ohio State University.

He served as a member of both the professional and graduate faculty at the University of Houston for over eighteen years. During his last five years at UH, he also held administrative roles as Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration and Chair of the Residency Programs. 

After serving as the Dean and Professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis School of Optometry, he was appointed Dean and Professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, a position he held for 24 years. He left the Dean position at the end of July 2020 and started a one-year sabbatical. The University presented him the title of Dean Emeritus in November 2020.

Dr. Loshin has held positions on a variety of college and university committees and professional organizations including serving as President of ASCO for two years. He was instrumental in establishing the ASCO Residency Educator’s SIG and served as chair and co-chair for over 20 years. He has received several professional and service awards, including the American Optometric Association’s Low Vision Section’s Vision Care Award, Nova Southeastern University Academic Dean of the Year, Heiken Children’s Vision Program Honoree and recently the Florida Optometric Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Loshin continues to be an advocate for optometric education and professional optometry.

“I would like to thank my many colleagues at ASCO who supported me and helped to advance the profession through collaboration and education,” says Dr. Loshin.

Dr. Jack Bennett Innovation in Optometric Education Award
This award was established in March 2000 to recognize an ASCO volunteer for an outstanding innovation to optometric education. The award was named in June 2000 in honor of Dr. Bennett, a creative leader in optometric education, who served as Dean at three optometric institutions.

The 2022 Jack Bennet Award for Innovation in Optometric Education is awarded to all of the teaching faculty, both didactic and hands-on clinical teachers, at ASCO’s member institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

“For the first time in our history, this award is given to all faculty at the schools and colleges of optometry,” says Dr. Maryke Neiberg, Chair of ASCO’s Awards and Resolution Committee and Dean of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, School of Optometry. “These few years have been extremely challenging for our faculty and they have pivoted and rose to meet these challenges. They all deserve this recognition.”

A representative from each school and college of optometry was invited to accept a special award at ASCO’s Annual Business Meeting. This award recognizes all faculty at the 23 optometric institutions in the United States.

ASCO Ophthalmic Industry Leadership Award
The ASCO Ophthalmic Industry Leadership Award recognizes an individual from a current or past Corporate Contributor partner company that demonstrates exemplary support of ASCO and its member institutions.

The individual serves as an example for his/her colleagues in industry; and has made exceptional and meaningful contributions to the advancement of ASCO and optometric education.

The 2022 recipient is Vernon Dela Cruz, Program Manager, Doctor Relations at VSP Vision. In this role, Vernon oversees VSP’s Schools of Optometry and State Optometric Association programs. Over the years, Vernon has worked closely with ASCO and all of the schools and colleges of optometry to expand scholarships and grants for students, highlight practice management education, and reinforce the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the optometric industry. 

“I am humbled and honored to accept this recognition on behalf of VSP Vision,” said Dela Cruz. “Optometric education is constantly evolving to ensure the skills students learn today will continue to serve the ongoing eye health needs of patients over the course of their lifetime. We look forward to a continued partnership in support of the next generation of optometrists and the long-term success of the profession.”

ASCO Rising Star Award
Sponsored by Oculus, the ASCO Rising Star Award is given to an outstanding faculty member or administrator with less than seven years of service who has made noteworthy contributions to fulfilling the mission, strategic objectives, or programs of ASCO. This year’s Rising Star awardee is Dr. Lucy Kehinde.

Since joining the faculty at University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) as Assistant Clinical Professor in 2015, Dr. Lucy Kehinde has been teaching in clinical didactic and laboratory courses and attending in Dry Eye, Cornea and Contact Lens, and Family Practice Clinics. She has also been involved in clinical research projects focusing on the ocular surface and dry eye disease. Dr. Kehinde has held leadership roles in various areas for initiatives involving clinic faculty and student affairs, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and interprofessional education with efforts reaching beyond UHCO through ASCO special interest groups and the Diversity and Cultural Competency Committee.

Dr. Kehinde earned her PhD in Vision Sciences and Doctor of Optometry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, followed by a residency in Primary Care at Indiana University School of Optometry.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to Optometry, OCULUS is proud to sponsor ASCO and the Rising Star Award,” said Dr. Bill Tullo, Oculus Medical Director USA. “I would like to congratulate Dr. Lucy Kehinde from UHCO as the 2022 winner of the Rising Star Award. Dr. Kehinde’s amazing commitment to the profession of optometry is both extraordinary and admirable, Congratulations Dr. Kehinde!”

“I am sincerely grateful to my esteemed colleagues at UHCO for nominating me to be the 2022 ASCO Rising Star award recipient,” according to Dr. Kehinde. “It is an incredible honor to be recognized for operating in my passions as I contribute to the profession of optometry through education and service. I hope that this announcement motivates anyone from any background to pursue excellence and strive for impactful changemaking in their areas of influence, whatever they may be.”

ASCO Student Award in Clinical Ethics
This annual national award, sponsored by Alcon, is available to optometry students during any point of their professional program at an ASCO-affiliated school or college of optometry in the United States and Canada. The application consists of an essay of up to 1,500 words describing any one of the following scenarios:

  1. A patient based case-study that the student encountered as part of their clinical learning experience.
  2.  A research based case scenario that the student has encountered during their clinical or didactic learning experience.
  3. A professional ethics based scenario that the student has encountered during their clinical or didactic learning.

ASCO announces Dr. Andrea Meagher as the winner of the 2022 Student Award in Clinical Ethics. This annual national award provides the winner with a $1,000 award check and an acrylic engraved plaque.

“Alcon is proud to sponsor this student award in partnership with ASCO and we congratulate Dr. Meagher on her winning essay and future publication,” says Chad Zscherny, Alcon’s Director, Academic Development. “We at Alcon greatly appreciate the opportunity to partner with the academic community especially in the area of clinical ethics in which Dr. Meagher has demonstrated her proficiency.”

Dr. Meagher is a 2022 graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry. Her winning essay, Caring for Patients with Disabilities – Advocating for Those Who Cannot Advocate for Themselves will also be featured in an upcoming issue of ASCO’s online Journal Optometric Education.

“I am so honored to receive this award and to be able to bring awareness to ethical treatment for patients with disabilities,” Dr. Meagher said. “I would like to send a special thanks to Dr. Lindsay Sicks for being such an incredible mentor for me and for encouraging me to apply for this award.” 

All award winners were acknowledged during ASCO’s Annual Business Meeting in June.