News

by Janene Sims, OD, PhD, FAAO

Tuesday, April 27th, marked the 10-year anniversary of a historic deadly tornado outbreak in the South. This series of storms lasted several days and spread across more than 20 states. Alabama suffered the most tragedy with 252 Alabamians losing their lives during an 18-hour period. Sixty-two confirmed tornadoes ranging from EF-1 to EF-5 wreaked havoc for a 1200 mile range. The weather alarms blared almost continuously that Wednesday. This week, Governor Ivey ordered that flags be flown at half-staff for a “Day of Remembrance” for the lives lost.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, consistently recognized for achievements in diversity, has been named America’s No. 4 Best Employer for Diversity by Forbes. Its diverse community brings connections both to social and ethnic groups and to individual life experiences.

Congratulations to Shervonne Poleon, who has been named the recipient of the 2021 Prevent Blindness Rising Visionary Award. 

Mai Nguyen
by Satina Richardson
 
Mai Nguyen, Vision Science Graduate Program student, is the first UAB School of Optometry student to receive an F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award. This National Institutes of Health grant is for five years, totaling $189,180.

Research funding to the University of Alabama at Birmingham from the National Institutes of Health exceeded $325 million in 2020. The university received $325,573,502, according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. That placed UAB 27th in the list of universities receiving funding from the NIH. Among public universities, UAB ranked 12th.

Read more on UAB News

Keshia Elder, OD, MS, FAAO, associate professor, has been named director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for the UAB School of Optometry (UABSO). This position is a new role within the school’s leadership.

UAB Eye Care, the UAB School of Optometry's clinical arm, has expanded its low vision services in response to the expected increased demand for low vision services. The clinic is one of few in Alabama to offer a telemedicine option to low vision patients who cannot travel or are located in rural areas.

John Laurent, OD, MS, PhD, traveled a storied path to becoming an associate professor at the UAB School of Optometry. Prior to joining the faculty, he spent 30 years on active duty in the US Army and US Navy. During that time, he gained the knowledge and experience needed to become an educator. After 10 years at the school, Laurent retired effective March 1.

Paul Batson, OD, class of 1998, has been named the 2020 Alumnus of the Year by the UAB School of Optometry Alumni Association. In addition to being an alumnus, he has been a part-time faculty member in ocular disease for nearly two decades.

Katie Clore, OD, has been named the 2020 Alabama Optometric Association (ALOA) Educator of the Year.

The 2020 Springer Lecture honored Toronto-based optometrist Barbara Caffery, OD, PhD, FAAO. During her lecture, titled “Corneas, Contact Lenses and the Vale of Tears,” she noted the current leading matters of concern being faced by optometrists as well as the role of optometrists in unveiling the natural history of eye disease.

Tommy Pinkston, OD, class of 2012, has been named the 2020 Young Alumnus of the Year by the UAB School of Optometry Alumni Association. 

by Satina Richardson


In its seventh year, the Gift of Sight is the UAB School of Optometry’s biggest giving event. Organizers were determined to hold the event despite the COVID-19 pandemic and were able to provide free comprehensive eye exams and glasses to 227 low-income and underinsured patients.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) has recognized Jason Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, UAB associate vice president for research and professor at the UAB School of Optometry, with its 2020 Vision Care Section (VSC) Outstanding Scientific Paper Award.

In recognition of the year 2020 and the significance of 20/20 in the field of optometry, the UAB School of Optometry is recognizing alumni whose careers have impacted communities, set precedents, or moved the profession forward in some way. With this in mind, meet Jim Marbourg, OD.

by Satina Richardson


The UAB School of Optometry has welcomed Natalie West, OD, and Keisha Brown, OD, as assistant professors.

by Satina Richardson
 
Lakesha Story, OD, and Latesha Story-Walker, OD, are twin sisters from West Shawmut, AL, a community of fewer than 10,000 not far from Columbus, GA. Story and Story-Walker are the owners of Doublevision Eye Care in Valley, AL, and will soon open a second location in Columbus, GA.

by Satina Richardson

On November 7, 2020, Day Eye Care celebrated an epic milestone—100 years of providing eye and vision care. It was on this day in 1920 that Frances J. Day, Sr., OD, received his reciprocity license in Alabama allowing him to open the optometry practice.

Howard Day, OD, UABSO class of 1987, is Frances Day’s grandson. He shared that obtaining the license wasn’t easy. However, during the 1920s Birmingham was booming.

by Satina Richardson

Twin sisters Mary and Emily are fighters! The girls were born at 36 weeks and contracted a brain infection caused by parechovirus at three weeks old. When the girls were six months old their mother, Tara Monk, noticed her babies weren’t hitting their vision development milestones at the same time.

In recognition of the year 2020 and the significance of 20/20 in the field of optometry, the UAB School of Optometry is recognizing alumni whose careers have impacted communities, set precedents, or moved the profession forward in some way. With this in mind, meet Brandon Runyon, OD. 

In July 2019, he became the Chinle Service Unit’s Chief of Optometry.  Since then, he has continued to serve as the residency program coordinator in addition to supervising and coordinating eye care services for approximately 37,000 Native Americans (predominantly Navajo) between the hospital clinic and two satellite outpatient optometry clinics. He would have never guessed this is where he would be now. Practicing the full scope of optometric practice has been very rewarding, affording him the opportunity to encounter and manage some very challenging and/or uncommon conditions that would otherwise be seen in a specialist’s office.