COVD honors award recipients at annual meeting

January 11, 2012

Ten recipients received awards for their contributions to the fields of developmental and behavioral optometry at the Awards Luncheon held at the 41st Annual Meeting of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), Oct. 27, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nev.

Receiving recognition were Edwin Howell, O.D., Leonard Press, O.D., Celia Hinrichs, O.D., Paul Freeman, O.D., and Patrick Quaid, Ph.D., MCOptom; Certified Optometric Vision Therapist Samantha Caldwell; exhibitors Harry and Elaine Wayne of Wayne Engineering and author Robin Benoit and her daughter, Jillian.

The 2011 A.M. Skeffington Award for outstanding contributions to the optometric literature in the areas of behavioral vision care and vision therapy was given to Edwin Howell, O.D. Dr. Howell is an optometrist in private practice in Heathmont, Victoria, Australia. In addition, he is an adjunct associate professor at the University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Senior Clinical Associate at the University of Melbourne Department of Optometry.

Dr. Press, of Fair Lawn, N.J., received the 2011 G.N. Getman Award in recognition of his clinical expertise in developmental optometry and his dedication to patient care. Dr. Press is a past president of the COVD, past member of the COVD International Examination and Certification Board, and a preceptor for students from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and Illinois College of Optometry. Dr. Press has a private practice in Fair Lawn where he currently practices with his son, Daniel Press, O.D.

The President’s Award was presented to Dr. Hinrichs in recognition of her many years of service on the COVD International Examination and Certification Board (IECB). She still serves as special consultant to the IECB. Dr. Hinrichs practices in Sudbury, Mass.

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dr. Freeman in special recognition for raising the awareness of COVD Board Certification among the optometric community. Dr. Freeman is the editor of Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association. He has a private practice in Sewickley, Pa., and is on staff at the Allegheny General Hospital Department of Ophthalmology.

The Optometry & Vision Development Award for best published article during 2010 was given to Dr. Quaid for the article titled:  “Diagnosing Extraocular Muscle Dysfunction in Clinic: Comparing Computerized Hess Analysis, Park’s 3-Step Test and a Novel 3-Step Test.”

The 2011 Certified Optometric Vision Therapist of the Year Award was given to Samantha Caldwell, COVT, for her outstanding dedication to behavioral optometry and patient care.  Caldwell is a certified optometric vision therapist, working at Alderwood Vision Therapy Center in Lynwood, Wash., under the direction of Nancy Torgerson, O.D., a COVD Fellow.

A Special Service Award from COVD was given to Harry and Elaine Wayne of Wayne Engineering for their many years as exhibitors at the COVD annual meeting and for their work and dedication to the field of developmental optometry. For more than 37 years, Wayne Engineering has been developing instruments for testing and enhancing visual and sensory-motor skills.

These awards are given annually at the COVD Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon. Nominations for the awards are reviewed by selection committees compiled of past award recipients and members of the Board of Directors and Journal Review Board.

During a special session on Friday, Robin Benoit and her daughter, Jillian, talked about their book “Jillian’s Story: How Vision Therapy Change My Daughter’s Life” and thanked the COVD audience for all they are doing to change the lives of many children and adults with stories similar to Jillian’s. Robin and Jillian were presented with COVD’s Making Vision Therapy Visible Award for their outstanding contributions to public awareness of optometric vision therapy and developmental vision care.

Student and resident travel grant awards were also presented to 52 optometry students and residents to defer expenses for their attendance at the COVD meeting. COVD received a $7,000 grant from The Vision Care Institute, LLC, to help fund these grants.

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