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Joel N. Zaba, M.A., OD ’69, has been chosen to receive Southern College of Optometry's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented during SCO's Fall Homecoming and Continuing Education weekend.
Over four decades of private practice in Virginia, Dr. Zaba has distinguished himself in the area of learning-related visual problems. He has lectured internationally and published extensively on his research focusing on the relationship between children, vision, and learning.
A graduate of The College of William and Mary, Dr. Zaba was encouraged to attend SCO by his brother-in-law, Harvey Aftel, OD ’54. At SCO, he became interested in the then relatively new connections between children’s vision and learning thanks to inspiration provided by the late Drs. Harvey Brown, Gerry Getman, and Robert Wagnon.
In his final year at SCO, he became one of the first optometry students to work with a researcher on a National Institutes of Health grant as he assisted in evaluating children with sickle-cell anemia. He later earned his master’s degree in human growth and development from the Institute for Child Study at the University of Maryland.
He has served as chair of the Communications Division for the AOA, the School Optometrist Standards Project Team, and as a national spokesman for the Vision Council of America. He has appeared on The Today Show and CNN to discuss children’s vision and learning. He is a member of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and of the Optometric Extension Program Foundation.
In 2015, he received the Virginia Optometric Association’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his longstanding and continuous commitment and service to optometry and the visual welfare of the public, including his service chairing the VOA’s Committee on Learning Disabilities and 13 years as a vision consultant to the Norfolk, Virginia public school system.
SCO Alumni Council Member Fred Farias III, OD '87, FAAO, was recently named the 2016 Optometrist of the Year by the American Optometric Association. CEO of 20/20 Vision Care in McAllen, TX was selected for his years of service to his patients, the AOA and his profession, along with his commitment to public service. Dr. Farias is a therapeutic optometrist and an optometric glaucoma specialist.
Dr. Farias is the immediate past president of the Texas Optometric Association, which named him its 2015 Optometrist of the Year. He volunteers as an InfantSEE® provider, a no-cost public health program developed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide through Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation, of which he is a charter member. Additionally, he organizes and sponsors vision screenings for underserved communities in south Texas. His service to optometry also includes volunteering as a member of the AOA Federal Legislative Action and Keyperson Committee. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Dr. Farias to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
"On behalf of the entire SCO community, we congratulate Dr. Farias on this prestigious honor," said SCO President Lewis Reich, OD, PhD. "Through his contributions to our profession, Dr. Farias is a role model to the college's thousands of alumni and friends across the nation."
Several Southern College of Optometry alumni were in the spotlight at the spring convention held by the Arkansas Optometric Association in Little Rock, Arkansas, April 28-May 1, 2016.
Installation of the 2016-2017 Board of Directors took place during the Membership Meeting, where Bryan Armstrong, OD '00, was elected President. Matthew Jones, OD '09, was elected President-Elect. Belinda Starkey, OD '04, was elected as Vice-President.
Chevron Ergle, OD '04, was elected as the Immediate Past-President. Joe Sugg, OD '09, was re-elected to the Board. Allyson Mertins, OD '97, Jeff Netzel, OD '02, and Melia Robertson, OD '09, remained as directors on the board. James Hertzog, OD '06, was elected as a new member to the board of directors.
Awards were given to deserving individuals during the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 30. The awards presented included:
Joining the board are Amanda Brewer-Lord, OD ’97, and Chris Wroten, OD ’02, who previously served as the Board’s Alumni Council Representative. The new Alumni Council representative to the Board is Larry Otten, OD ’77 (not pictured).
Dr. Amanda Brewer-Lord obtained her optometry degree from SCO in 1997. A graduate of King College in Bristol, Tennessee, she received her Master of Science degree in Education from Radford University in Virginia.
Upon graduation, Dr. Brewer-Lord established Wythe Eye Associates, a private practice with two locations in Virginia. She has been active in leadership positions in optometry, including serving on the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Optometric Association, the Board of Directors of the Banzai Consortium, the Board for TLC Laser Eye Center, InfantSEE Regional Liaison, and as SECO Logistics Committee Vice-Chair, among others.
At the local level, she has served on the Board of Directors for 1st Bank of Virginia and the Wytheville Chamber of Commerce. Her awards include being named Virginia’s Young OD of the Year and numerous Clinic of the Year awards in Wythe County.
Dr. Chris Wroten graduated from SCO in 2002 prior to completing a hospital-based residency in Primary Eye Care at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. After two years on staff at West Tennessee Eye in the Memphis area, he returned home to Louisiana in 2005 to become a partner in the Bond-Wroten Eye Clinics with three offices in southeast Louisiana.
Dr. Wroten serves as the Bond-Wroten Eye Clinic’s Chief Operating Officer and supervises its Family Practice Residency and Optometric Externship programs, both of which he founded. He has twice been elected President of the Optometry Association of Louisiana, received a number of state, regional, and national professional awards, and serves on several boards and committees both within and outside of the profession of optometry.
In addition to participating in clinical research, Dr. Wroten has also authored clinical case reports and eyecare articles, lectured as a continuing education speaker, and presented a number of educational posters and workshops at regional and national optometric conferences.
Joining the Board as SCO’s Alumni Council representative is Dr. Larry Otten, a graduate of the University of Washington and a 1977 SCO graduate. He opened his first Seattle-based clinic in 1978. After selling his practice in 2001, he joined a multi-clinic ophthalmology group in Redmond, Washington.
He later purchased the practice and practiced there until his 2013 retirement. He is remaining active by working with a community college optician’s program and traveling abroad performing mission work in addition to working with local homeless clinics to provide vision care.