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

“I am honored to be recognized by the UABSO Alumni Association,” Pinkston said. “The UAB School of Optometry’s commitment to excellence is something I am very proud to be associated with. I am grateful to have trained from and graduated with some of the best optometrists in our profession. As optometrists and UABSO alumni, I believe we have a duty to serve and work for our communities and profession. I look forward to continuing to serve our wonderful profession.”   

After earning his doctor of optometry degree from UAB, he completed a residency in ocular disease and refractive surgery with Woolfson Eye Institute in Atlanta. 

During his residency, Pinkston became involved with the Georgia Optometric Society and facilitated the beginning of their young OD program in 2013. 

He says the group had great success and saw that program grow wildly over a three-year period during his time in Georgia. Pinkston also volunteered with the Greater Atlanta Optometric Society. As a result of his involvement, in 2015 he was named Young OD of the Year by the Georgia Optometric Association. 

“Tommy Pinkston was all in for optometry from the day I met him as a resident in our practice,” said Tom Spetalnick, OD, class of 1986, Woolfson Eye Institute residency supervisor. “He joined us at the Capitol that first year, then immediately took on leadership roles in our state association. His devotion to our profession led to a well-deserved Young OD of the Year Award from the Georgia Optometric Association, and the award from UABSO is just another reminder of how lucky we are to have him as a colleague.”   

In 2016, Pinkston moved to North Carolina to join his classmate, Aimee McBride, OD, in private practice. He and McBride own Haywood Family Eye Care, a growing private practice in Waynesville, NC. 

Their practice has been in Waynesville since 1955 and has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. Pinkston and McBride recently hired an associate OD and are in the process of renovating a new office building purchased in early 2020. 

“I'm proud to work with Dr. Pinkston,” McBride said. “Not only do our patients and staff appreciate him, but he is very involved and advocates for optometry. He is an asset to our profession.”

Pinkston's commitment to being an advocate for the profession continues in North Carolina. He was elected president of the Mountain District Optometric Society in 2019.

"In the future, I hope to continue to mentor and create opportunities for young ODs. I am extremely thankful for the mentorship I have received throughout my career and I hope to continue that legacy for others."