Brook Allison, Program Manager, RestoringVision
Brooke began her studies with the goal of working in Sports Medicine. However, after backpacking from London to Beijing, she saw the immense need that existed in the world. In hopes of addressing some of the need she saw, she decided to transition instead to the field of global health.
As Program Manager at RestoringVision, Brooke is responsible for overseeing the work with more than 1,400 service delivery partners who order and deliver glasses to people in need. She focuses on cultivating relationships and the implementation of initiatives that bring glasses to areas where they can have the greatest impact. Through these partnerships and initiatives, RestoringVision has the goal of reaching 20 Million people by the end of 2020.
Prior to joining RestoringVision, Brooke was Partner Development Manager at International Aid where she developed and managed relationships between NGOs, mission hospitals, and field clinics in over 50 countries.
She holds a B.S. degree in Athletic Training from Eastern Michigan University and a M.P.A. with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Grand Valley State University.
Paul Anderson, OD
Paul Anderson, OD graduated as doctor of Optometry from Ohio State University in 1986. He currently runs a private practice in Ocala, Florida. He is the current President of VOSH-Southeast.
VOSH/International 2019 Harry I. Zeltzer Lifetime Achievement Award: VOSH-Southeast’s Max Bruss
My wife Della and I have been married 51 years and have 3 children, 2 daughters and a son. We have 6 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
I was born on June 12, 1939 in Lemont, PA. Graduated in 1957 from College Area Schools, State College, PA. Graduated from Carnegie College of Medical Technology in Cleveland OH in 1958.
Employed at Munroe Regional Medical Center from August 1, 1961 to January 1, 1984. Retired as Director of Diagnostic and Treatment.
Licensed as a Radiological Technician
Licensed as a Laboratory Technologist.
Licensed as a Physician Assistant with James Stone M.D.
Established the recycling center at the Marion County Jail with the Silver Springs Lion Club in August of 1993. Joined VOSH Florida in August of 2000 and went on my first mission to La Merced in Peru that year.
Participated in 25 missions and rented the first tin hut in 2009. Currently operate the warehouse for VOSH Southeast with 8 10’x20’ warehouses at Citrus Park Storage Center, 3804 SE Lake Weir Ave. Ocala, FL. 34480
Vernon Dela Cruz
University & Student Relations Manager, VSP Global
Traveling 60 percent of his time, Vernon builds, maintains, and engages relationships with the students and faculty at colleges of optometry. In this role, he makes networking, industry, and educational opportunities possible for student organizations. Vernon also works closely with faculty to collaborate on practice management and business education initiatives. Within his nine years with VSP, Vernon served in multiple capacities including Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Chair for the Young Professional Business Resource Group.
VOSH/International 2019 Humanitarian of the Year: BASIC Nicaragua’s Suzy Eberle
VOSH/International proudly announces Suzy Eberle as its 2019 Humanitarian of the Year. The founder and President of the non-profit BASIC Nicaragua, Eberle is cited as the driving force in a laundry list of humanitarian initiatives in the non profit she founded. BASIC Nicaragua focuses on sustainable care. Its vision is to succeed with its partners in improving the lives and opportunities for the people of Nicaragua through education, housing and visual health, train people Nicaragua in job skills and lead a volunteer revolution towards humanitarian assistance.
“What started as a test pilot became a permanent fixture,” Eberle observed on being selected. “In 2014, BASIC Nicaragua with donated supplies and equipment from VOSH- Southeast opened a permanent optical lab in Chinandega, Nicaragua hiring a local craftsman to be trained by seasoned opticians from the US. Three years later, we constructed our own building and moved the lab to its permanent location. To date, we have crafted over 11,500 pairs of finished eyeglasses for use in-country.” VOSH has been a partner since its inception. Eberle also serves on the VOSH-Southeast (ne Florida) Board.
The statistics in visual health for BASIC Nicaragua are impressive including: 25 vision clinics held in 25 different locations around the country serving 18,698 patients in vision clinics, dispensing 20,379 pairs of glasses with 57 optometry students shadowing licensed optometrists in clinics. Sixty-six different optometrists have participated in vision clinics. In addition, 71 cataract and Pterygium surgeries were funded in partnership with FONIPRECE in Nicaragua who completes the surgeries.
Eberle will receive the VOSH Humanitarian of the Year Award the VOSH 27thAnnual Meeting October 27 in Orlando Florida. VOSH is a leading nonprofit optometric and eye care humanitarian and volunteer organization with 88 chapters globally. The VOSH Annual meeting with its 2019 theme “BIG VISION small world” brings together chapters including professionals and lay volunteers, partners and others, many attending the World Congress of Optometry and American Academy of Optometry meeting concurrently to share experiences and gain the latest in humanitarian and vision efforts in actively confronting the challenges of the global eye care crisis. Information on attending and registering for the VOSH Annual meeting in Orlando can be found on the VOSH.org website at https://vosh.org/get-involved/annual-meetings/
Kimberly Molter, OD
Kimberly Molter, OD, is currently in her fourth school year as a VOSH/International VOSH Corps volunteer in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with her husband, Robert Molter, OD. In this role, they are both affiliated with the Brien Holden Vision Institute as educational consultants at Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine. Previous work experience includes co-owning with her husband several private practice optometric offices, first in Ft. Myers, Florida then in northern Michigan. After the last practice sold in 2015, her professional time was filled partly with work as an adjunct clinical professor at MCO (her alma mater, 1988) until an opportunity came for a one-year commitment to teach optometry in a developing program. The one year has become four, and much has been learned about ways to be more effective toward meeting goals related to affordable, accessible, and high-quality care. Kim also has a grown son and daughter, and now a son-in-law too, all in the Detroit, MI area.
Dr. Donald R. Smith
Dr. Donald R. Smith is currently the Director of Professional Relations for National Vision, Inc. (NVI), the 3rd largest optical retailer in the United Sates. Prior to Dr. Smith’s rejoining NVI in 2016, he brings to NVI 43 years of experience, including practicing in the private sector for 10 years, helping build the America’s Best Brand as Vice President of Professional Services before it was sold to NVI in 2005, serving as Director of Professional Services and Recruitment for Vision Care Holdings, LLC (parent company of The Lasik Vision Institute (LVI) and EyeGlass World until the EyeGlass World Brand was also sold to NVI. Dr. Smith also served as Director of Franchise Development and Strategic Partnerships for both Emerging Vision and Cohen’s Fashion Optical. He helped create American Optical Services, a start-up company rolling up the various categories of the ophthalmic industry where he served as the Senior Vice President of Professional Services, headed the acquisition team, and later held the positions of Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
Dr. Smith resides in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Liz Smith, Co-Founder & Chief Executive of EYElliance, has spent the last 12 years working in international development with a focus on inclusive business and increasing access to global markets. Prior to her work with EYElliance, Liz spent 5 years consulting with the UN Office of South-South Cooperation forwarding the work of the Creative Economy for Development Agenda. In 2011 Liz joined VisionSpring as Director of Business Development where she and VisionSpring’s Founder, Jordan Kassalow, began their initial exploration of the viability of a cross sector collaboration to close the gap in access to eyeglasses on a global scale. Liz graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, is a member of the Explorers Club, and is a two time National Geographic Society grant recipient for her work documenting endangered song.
Karen graduated from Cardiff University (UK) in 1989 and started her career as a high street optometrist. She has nearly three decades experience in clinical, corporate and NGO settings. She was Professional Services Manager at Vision Express looking after their national continuing education, graduate recruitment and pre-registration training programmes for over 9 years. She has also completed research placements at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London and the Kingston Royal Eye Unit, Surrey, UK.
She spent 8 years with the Association of Optometrists (UK) as Head of Professional Development where she advised optometrists at all career stages; and produced continuing education programmes and conferences. She has also been involved in policy and regulatory work in the UK, Europe and worldwide.
She has volunteered for NGO Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) since 2007, leading teams in Africa to provide sustainable eye health solutions with local partners. She also assists them with volunteer training and overseas eye health education programmes.
She is involved with the World Council of Optometry and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry European Academy of Optometry and the College of Optometrists (UK) and a Liveryman of Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.
She completed a Masters in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and undertook the first survey of the optometry workforce in Botswana. She is now part of a non-profit social impact technology start-up, Peek Vision, leading ground-breaking work to develop smartphone solutions to reduce avoidable blindness across the globe.
AAO Biography 2019 – Short
Karen Sparrow is Head of Global Programme Training at Peek Vision, a non-profit, social impact technology start-up leading ground-breaking work to develop smartphone solutions to reduce avoidable blindness across the world, and especially in low- and middle- income countries. She trained at Cardiff University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Her work focuses on mentoring and training optometrists and eye health professionals for non-profits, Universities, NGOs and national Optometry associations. She has also been involved in policy and regulatory work in the UK, Europe and worldwide. She works closely with a number of bodies on global optometry and eye health education, including the World Council of Optometry and Vision Aid Overseas.
Vice President (2017-2019)
J. Dan Twelker, OD, PhD
Dr. Twelker received his Doctor of Optometry from the University of California, Berkeley College of Optometry in 1992. He worked in private practice for several years before returning to obtain his Ph.D. in Vision Science from The University of California, Berkeley. Since 2002, he has been on the faculty of the University of Arizona Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science where he is an Associate Clinical Professor. He was the Site Principal Investigator for the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Ethnicity and Refractive Error from 2002 through 2012, which looked at the effect of ethnicity on eye growth and the need for spectacle correction. He was elected President of the Arizona branch of VOSH in 2015 and continues to serve in that position. In the fall of 2015, Dr. Twelker took leave of his position in Arizona to teach optometry at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Western Kenya. In 2016, Dr. Twelker was elected to the Board of Directors for VOSH International, with his main emphasis being to support and sustain optometry education efforts in developing countries such as Malawi, Kenya, and Mexico.