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By Satina Richardson

Caroline Pate, OD, FAAO, associate professor and director of residency programs at the UAB School of Optometry, has been named the 2019 Optometric Educator of the Year by the Alabama Optometric Association (ALOA).

“I have been a loyal ALOA member and volunteer since I moved to Alabama for my residency over 15 years ago, and it is an honor to be recognized by my state association and colleagues across Alabama, many of whom are former students or residents,” Pate said.

Pate joined the school in 2005 as a clinical assistant professor following the completion of her residency in family practice at UAB. She said that it was during her residency that faculty mentors began to encourage her to pursue a career in academia. For this, she is grateful.

“My career affords me the opportunity to influence and inspire others to continually grow and learn,” she said. “It is so rewarding to see students progress in just a few short years from their first nerve-wracking CEVS practical to being a 4th year intern in clinic where they are making independent decisions on tough cases, and to know that I played some small part in that journey.”

 Aside from her role as an educator and in addition to being active in the ALOA, Pate is a longtime member and leader within several optometric professional organizations. These include the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Southeastern Council (SECO) of Optometrists.

She is an active continuing education course presenter who has been published numerous times, most recently in the Review of Optometry. Additionally, Pate serves as a senior consultant for the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE).

“Academia has given me so many opportunities to pursue my passion for service to the profession, where I have been able to work with and have been inspired by the many selfless, dedicated volunteers who are helping move our profession forward,” she said “It is my hope that I have inspired my former students and residents to seek out opportunities to become involved in organized optometry when they graduate UABSO, as they are the future leaders of our profession.”