Kelly Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, dean of the UAB School of Optometry, was named the 2019 Donald R. Korb Award recipient. This award is given by the American Optometric Association (AOA) Contact Lens and Cornea Section in recognition of an individual who has been a true innovator and leader in the field of contact lenses and anterior segment disease.

The winner of this award must be one who has propelled the profession's knowledge base through novel research or lifelong education to other professionals in the field of contact lenses and anterior segment anomalies, has made a major developmental impact on the profession through an innovative device or educational breakthrough, and has made a positive effect on the way practitioners manage their patients with anterior segment anomalies.

“Having the opportunity to present an award to Dr. Nichols bearing my name, which was established to specifically recognize ‘the excellence of an individual as a true innovator and leader in the field of CLs and anterior segment disease’ and whose total professional career I have closely observed and supported, reinforced how proud I am of Kelly,” said Dr. Donald Korb. “One of her unique contributions was being the first to complete a PhD degree in dry eye and then coupling this knowledge with an MPH in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, providing her with optimal research qualifications in dry eye.”

Dean Nichols has been involved in research but also through membership in the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, the DEWS, DEWS II, Contact Lens Discomfort and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction workshops, which have propelled the field of dry eye forward, long before the field was popular.

AT UABSO Dean Nichols sets a phenomenal example for optometry students as well as other educators and professionals practicing in the field. This is yet another reason why she is deserving of this honor.

“It is an incredible honor to receive this esteemed award named for one of my research mentors and favorite colleagues in my field, Dr. Donald Korb,” said Dean Nichols. “At UAB, I hope to continue on as he would in seeking the research answers for the betterment of patient care.”