Warren Barstow Oculus AwardMary Warren, Beth Barstow with the Oculus AwardThe UAB School of Health ProfessionsGraduate Certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation program received the Envision Oculus Award in recognition of it’s national and international impact on improving the daily lives of persons with low vision. The award, handed out annually since 2010, honors the Department of Occupational Therapy program’s professional collaboration, advocacy, research and education in the field of low vision rehabilitation.

"We were very pleased to be recognized for our efforts to ensure that older adults with age-related eye disease and vision impairment from brain injury receive the high quality rehabilitation services they need to live productive lives,” said Mary Warren, Ph.D., OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA, director of the certificate program and 2012 Envision Oculus Award winner. “We were the first university program in the United States to provide comprehensive focused education to prepare occupational therapists to provide low vision rehabilitation services and from day one our mission was to ensure that no one could question our graduates’ knowledge, training or credentials."

Warren began the UAB Low Vision Rehabilitation program in 2001. She was joined one year later by Elizabeth Barstow, Ph.D., OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA. The program now has more than 300 graduates providing low vision rehabilitation services around the world. The program is also responsible for more than half of the occupational therapists who have earned the Specialty Certification in Low Vision (SCLV) credential from the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Oculus Award“When we began this program, there was some push back against occupational therapists providing low vision rehabilitation and our competence was questioned,” said Barstow who co-edited the widely used textbook, “Occupational Therapy Interventions for Adults with Low Vision,” along with Warren in 2011. “Today, occupational therapists with low vision education are specifically sought out by employers because of our ability to work so effectively with this client population.”

That change is also evident at the annual Envision Conference, the premier event for professionals providing low vision rehabilitation. This year’s audience was dominated by occupational therapists. UAB’s leadership in the field was felt with seven UAB alumni presenting papers and workshops- bringing the total to18 Envision presenters in the past two years alone.

The Department of Occupational Therapy Low Vision Rehabilitation is an online certificate program open only to occupational therapists. Program graduates serve clients in hospitals and clinics across the United States and around the world including Canada, Australia, Ireland, Taiwan and Singapore.