Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, Has Been Named Dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry


BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, has been named Dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, following the retirement of Rod W. Nowakowski, OD, PhD, as reported by VMail July 26, 2013. She will assume the role on June 25, 2014.

Nichols comes to UAB from the University of Houston, where she served as a professor since 2011. There, she co-founded and served as executive director for The Ocular Surface Institute. Prior to that, Nichols was a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Optometry from 2000 to 2011.

“In a highly competitive search, we narrowed the list to several strong candidates from across the country and found Dr. Nichols to be the best fit for UAB,” said Provost Linda Lucas, PhD. “The UAB School of Optometry has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and I am confident that this hire will ensure a bright future in which the school builds on its momentum and flourishes under the leadership of Dr. Nichols.”

Nichols received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of California at Berkeley, completed a residency in ocular disease at a tertiary referral medical center in Colorado, and earned her MPH in biostatistics and PhD in vision science at The Ohio State University. Extensively involved in professional organizations, including the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry, she serves as a medical adviser to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, is an executive board member for the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, and a founding member of Ocular Surface Society of Optometry

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as dean of the UAB School of Optometry,” Nichols said. “I look forward to working together with Provost Lucas and the talented and dedicated faculty to continue the tradition of clinical and research excellence.”

The UAB School of Optometry graduated its first class in 1973 and has awarded more than 1,300 Doctor of Optometry degrees, 322 residency-completion certificates, 62 master’s degrees and 58 doctoral degrees.