OSU Student Wins 2018 Student Innovator Award Sponsored by VSP Global

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RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Global, The Rick Bay Foundation and The Ohio State University College of Optometry (OSU) announced Marielle Blumenthaler, a fourth-year OD student, as the first-ever recipient of the OSU Student Innovator Award. The award recognizes innovative, creative, and feasible ideas of a current student at different optometry schools. This is the first year OSU has offered the award. Blumenthaler’s winning idea proposes the integration of vision therapy services into elementary schools serving low-income students. The idea is to bring in sensory motor evaluations, vision therapy sessions, and progress checks to the school to neutralize barriers to care and to optimize children’s academic success.

“I worked as a vision therapist during my first year of optometry school, and saw first-hand how vision can impact a child’s school performance,” Blumenthaler explained. “I quickly drew a connection between vision therapy and speech therapy, but only one is provided to children in schools on a regular basis. The other is not.”

The $5,000 inaugural OSU Innovator Award was presented to Blumenthaler in July during a presentation of her winning idea at VSP Global’s The Shop Midwest.

“We are grateful to the Rick Bay Foundation and VSP Global for providing this unique opportunity to Ohio State students,” said Greg Nixon, OD, associate dean for clinical services at OSU. “Marielle produced an idea that was genuine, inspirational and could offer tangible results to increase access to eyecare for children. We are tremendously proud of her accomplishments.”