Envision honors 2012 research, educator award winners

November 2, 2012

Envision announced the 2012 Envision Award winners in Low Vision Research and Excellence in Education at its conference in St. Louis, Mo., on Sept. 13.

The mission of Envision is to enhance the personal independence of people who are blind or have low vision through employment, vision rehabilitation and public and professional education.

The Low Vision Research winner was Olga Overbury, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Optometry, University of Montreal, and Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University.

The Envision Award in Low Vision Research is presented each year to a mid-career senior investigator in low vision and vision rehabilitation research. Selection is peer-reviewed and based on research by a scientist having six or more years post-terminal or professional degree research.

Dr. Overbury’s research interests lie in the area of acute as well as chronic visual impairment and its sensory, perceptual and psychosocial impact. The goal of her research is to gain a better understanding of the perceptual abilities of individuals with vision loss in order to better tailor rehabilitation training to their unique needs.

A highly regarded researcher, Dr. Overbury is the recipient of numerous awards and grants that focus on removing patient barriers to vision rehabilitation services and social inclusion of people with disabilities.

“Dr. Overbury’s distinguished career has been driven by her desire to understand and improve the situation of persons with visual impairment,” said Walter Wittich, Ph.D., adjunct professor, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, and adjunct professor, Department of Psychology, Concordia University. “She manages to combine topics relevant to clients and clinicians with the scientific clarity expected within the research community, thereby bridging several worlds and allowing them to come closer together. Her dedication to the domain of low vision shines as a guiding star for her students, who are an integral part of her work and for whom she would walk to the ends of the earth. As a former student of Dr. Overbury’s, I am proud that our community recognizes her contribution to the field of low vision. I congratulate her on receiving the Envision Award in Low Vision Research; it is well-deserved for going beyond the call of duty.”

Dr. Overbury also moderated a research symposia at the 2012 Envision Conference titled “What Does Eye-tracking Research Teach Us About the Use of Residual Vision?”

Excellence in education

Mary Warren, associate professor of Occupational Therapy and director of the Graduate Certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), was selected by a panel of her peers to receive Envision’s “Excellence in Education” Award for 2012.

The Envision “Excellence in Education” is a distinguished peer award presented to the individual(s) or organization that has demonstrated outstanding research outcome, program, career or effort in low vision research with national or international impact for people who are blind or have low vision.

“Mary is a pioneer in the field of vision rehabilitation among occupational therapists,” said Dawn DeCarlo, O.D., associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at UAB. “Her efforts have significantly affected the field, and have contributed greatly to the movement of vision rehabilitation into the medical model. Besides being a gifted educator, she is also an amazing therapist who has helped many of my patients achieve or maintain the independence and high quality of life they desire and deserve despite their vision loss.”

The Envision Conference provides a unique opportunity for optometrists and other low vision rehabilitation professionals to earn valuable CE credits, meet with industry representatives, access new products and services and network with colleagues.

The 2013 Envision Conference will be Sept. 19-21 in Minneapolis, Minn. Visit www.envisionconference.org for more information.

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