Special awards recipients advance AAO mission for eye care

Special awards recipients advance AAO mission for eye care

Outgoing American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) President Harry A. Zink, MD, presented a series of special awards in recognition of individuals who are dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the academy's mission for the best eye care.

The 2006 Laureate Recognition Award, the AAO's highest honor, was presented to Lorenz E. Zimmerman, MD, who is widely recognized for improving the understanding of eye disease by developing training programs and encouraging young ophthalmologists to pursue pathology.

The Distinguished Service Award was given to the Volunteers of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The honor recognizes an individual or organization for ongoing notable service to ophthalmology and the AAO.

Recipients of the Special Recognition Award include: Arthur S.M. Lim, MD, FRCS, for his numerous contributions as a highly respected international leader in the prevention of blindness; and Lorraine H. Marchi, PhD, for her contributions to the restoration of vision through years as a worldwide leader and innovator in the low-vision community.

The Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award was presented to Ghulamqadir A. Kazi, MD, who organized the Blindness Prevention Program at the national and international levels in 35 countries; and C. Downey Price, MD, who formed Benevolent Missions International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing ophthalmic care to the underprivileged.

Gullapalli N. Rao, MD, was the recipient of the International Blindness Prevention Award. Dr. Rao established the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, which has become a role model for eye care in developing nations. He is president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and was instrumental in initiating and leading Vision 2020: The Right to Sight.

The Straatsma Award for Excellence in Resident Education was presented to Karl C. Golnik, MD, for his commitment to residency training in ophthalmology and for excellence and innovation as a residency training program director at the University of Cincinnati.

Genentech was the recipient of the AAO Foundation's Visionary Society Award.

Special guests of honor at this year's AAO meeting included Phillip C. Hessburg, MD, for his contributions to ophthalmology, leadership, and drive toward the reintegration of ophthalmology into the mainstream of medicine; Stephen A. Kamenetzky, MD, for his knowledge of management, finance, and the business aspects of ophthalmology, along with his ability to explain such complex issues to policymakers at the local and national level; and Stephen A. Obstbaum, MD, for his dedication to ophthalmic education, strengthening the ophthalmic community, and globally focusing on patient needs.

The awards were presented during the opening session Sunday morning.