Your Story

What is your hometown? Clarkesville, GA

When did you graduate from UAB School of Optometry? 1983

Your career in Optometry

Name of your employer(s)/Practice and title, including location. I have a Private Practice, Jenkins Vision Care, in Athens, GA.

Why did you choose a career in Optometry? I chose optometry to be in a health profession that involved a significant amount of math (optics).

Where do you hope to see your optometric career in 5 years? I hope to still be practicing in 5 years, but to be within another 5 years of walking away from practice ( or maybe still practice a day or two per week).

Which optometric issues concern you the most? I am concerned about the corporate influence upon optometry and hope that private, independent optometry can remain a viable option for future O.D.'s.

To help combat the adverse effects that constant computer usage has on a person’s overall eyesight and vision, the University of Alabama School of Optometry has launched a new specialty clinic. The Vision in the Environment and Workplace Clinic, located in UAB Eye Care, can help those who work in front of a computer with vision wellness, ergonomics and overall eye safety.

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Your Story

What is your hometown? 

Greenville, Alabama

When did you graduate from UABSO?


What would you say is your greatest accomplishment outside of the field of Optometry?

I would have to say that convincing my wife, Sarah Ellen, to marry me is my greatest accomplishment outside the field of Optometry.

Savannah Coker, a third year UAB School of Optometry Student, has been elected national secretary of the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) and was also named Trustee of the Year. The award is given to one member of the board who has gone above and beyond. This is the second year in a row that a UAB Trustee has won this distinction, and the third straight year that UABSO has been represented on the AOSA Executive Council.

Dean Kelly Nichols elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice (NAP) in Optometry. A Distinguished Practitioner, Scholar or Policy Fellow within NAP is a very high honor that acknowledges her outstanding achievements. This honor also identifies Dean Nichols as a recognized leader in the optometry profession and indicates that colleagues in other Academies of NAP recognize her ability to help establish and lead her new Academy in the days to come.

The 2019 Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama reception will be held on Sunday, January 27th, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI).  The art show will be on display at BCRI until February 28th and throughout the state at ten museums during 2019.

The UAB School of Optometry’s pediatric eye clinic was named the November Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG) site of the month for recruiting the highest number of pediatric patients for clinical trials. The studies,  being conducted in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Optometry and Ophthalmology, focus on conditions like lazy eye, eye turns and myopia.

Jianzhong Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Alabama at BirminghamSchool of Optometry, along with co-author Kelly Nichols, O.D., MPH, Ph.D., FAAO, dean of the School of Optometry, has published a sensitive method facilitating dry eye disease studies in the Journal of Lipid Research. JLR is the most cited lipid journal in the world and is published by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Kwaku Osei, OD, Vision Science program doctoral student, has been accepted into the 2019 CCTS Clinical and Translational Science (CTS) Training Program. The CTS Training Program, part of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), places UAB in an elite group of academic institutions that conducts broad-based clinical and translational research and provides educational programs for individuals starting careers in this type of research.

During the fifth annual Gift of Sight event, the clinical operation of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Optometry — UAB Eye Care— served nearly 300 patients throughout the four-day event, including caring for its 1,000th patient in the event’s tenure.

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The Worrell Building, a significant part of the UAB School of Optometry’s history, was demolished in February 2019 to make way for the modernization of the university campus. The building housed the Department of Vision Sciences, the Vision Science Graduate Program, and the Vision Science Research Center (VSRC) for the school from 1988 to 2013.

Pate is a graduate of Pennsylvania College of Optometry who completed her residency at UABSO. Upon the completion of her residency, she then joined the UAB School of Optometry faculty in July 2005, where she currently is an Associate Professor in the Department of Optometry and Vision Science.

The Alabama Optometric Association (ALOA) has named Adam Gordon OD, MPH, FAAO, clinical associate professor at the UAB School of Optometry, their Educator of the Year.

Gordon was honored as the recipient of the 2018 award at the ALOA’s fall meeting, held November 2-4 at the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham.

For years, there has been a room on the third floor of the Henry B. Peters Building that reminded Dean Kelly Nichols of “the lost luggage section at the airport.” Large rolling bags were scattered across the floor, creating an obstacle course that students had to traverse in order to retrieve their optometry equipment.

Your Story

What is your hometown?

My hometown is Henderson, Kentucky.

When did you graduate from UAB School of Optometry?

I am in the UABSO Class of 2008.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment outside of the field of Optometry?

Easy!  Convincing (or was it duping?) Kim, the prettiest girl I’ve ever met, to marry me. Sixteen years and three kids later, I’ve still got the wool pulled over her eyes!

Officers were sworn in at the annual Alumni Association Open Business Meeting, which took place at the Alabama Optometric Association’s fall conference.

Incoming President Caleb Gardner said that this year the officers are looking forward to returning the Alumni Association to the purpose listed in the bylaws, in which they will support the UAB School of Optometry in recruiting, financially and by continuing to foster a fraternal spirit among alumni. 

The UAB School of Optometry Alumni Association named Fred Wallace, O.D., Alumnus of the Year at the annual Alumni Association Open Business Meeting, which took place at the Alabama Optometric Association conference.

Dr. Kelly Nichols and Dr. Thomas Norton

The 20th Springer Award Honoree, Dr. Thomas Norton, professor emeritus, presented a lecture entitled "Toward Myopia Control: from animal models to children—the UAB connection" to students, faculty, and alumni on October 25th. In the lecture, Dr. Norton described research from his lab that began over three decades ago and is part of the foundation for the myopia treatments used today at the UAB School of Optometry.

At UAB, more than 7,100 graduate students are exploring the frontiers of human knowledge, following lines of inquiry that will lead to their dissertations or master’s theses. Each has a story to tell.

Jessica Jasien, doctoral candidate in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Vision Science Graduate Program, has been invited by the American Academy of Optometry to present what is being called one of the 10 most newsworthy abstracts of 2018. Jasien, a native of Rumson, NJ, will present her findings Nov. 7 in San Antonio, Texas, at the AAO’s annual meeting.