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Optometry Cares® awards HEHP state grants

June 13, 2012

Optometry Cares® – The AOA Foundation recently named the 2012 recipients of the Healthy Eyes Healthy People® (HEHP) State Grant program. This year’s grants were generously funded by Luxottica.

The Optometry Cares® Community Grants Committee evaluated, selected and administered this year’s projects.

“Healthy Eyes Healthy People® is a program that is committed to improving the vision and health of all Americans,” said James L. Boccuzzi, O.D., chair of the Community Grants Committee. “The HEHP grants are a tool for optometrists to change community health programs so that vision services are recognized as vital to the health care system and to improving the quality of life for all Americans.”

“During the past eight years, we have seen the Healthy Eyes Healthy People® projects in action across almost every state in the U.S., with programs ranging from vision care for the homeless to preschool vision screenings and diabetes awareness projects,” said Andrea Dorigo, president, Luxottica USA. “We have seen how these innovative community outreach programs promote both eye health and disease prevention.”

2012 award winners include the following individuals: Patricia Westfall-Elsberry, O.D., Ark.; Miki Carpenter, Ph.D., Calif.; Linda Rouse, O.D., Fla.; Jill Gonder, Iowa; L’Erin Garner, O.D., MPH, Ind.; Todd Fleischer, Kan.; Doug Wilkinson, La.; Michael Ackermann, Minn.; Linda Ross Aldy and Katie Nelson, Miss.; Alissa Johnson, Neb.; Lawrence Ragone, O.D., N.J., Joan Portello, O.D., MPH, N.Y.; Terri Gossard, O.D., Ohio; Ruthie Ruan, O.D., Okla.; Len V Hua, Ore.; Zakiya Nicks, O.D., Tenn.; and Michael Judkins, O.D. Utah.

Healthy Eyes Healthy People® is an ambitious public-private program to improve the eye and visual health of Americans. The HEHP grants are based on the Healthy People 2020 initiative, developed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to improve the health of Americans.

The HEHP State Grant Program is intended to stimulate community initiatives in health promotion and disease prevention that support the vision objectives of Healthy People 2020.

This year, applicants proposed a project that focuses on one of the two vision objectives to improve children’s vision. The HEHP grants should strengthen the outreach of community-based organizations by providing “seed money” to begin or continue vision-related projects.

Since the program’s inception in 2004, grants worth $1,210,500 have been distributed to state optometric associations for community outreach projects.

These 317 grants have funded collaborative community outreach projects, including projects in diabetes, glaucoma, children’s vision, eye safety and low vision.

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