Two OD Students Are Winners of 2nd Rick Bay Foundation Student Innovator Award


Kathleen Hoang (l) and Alex Martin.

NEW YORK—The Student Innovator of the Year award from the Rick Bay Foundation recognizes the innovative and creative ideas of a current student at an optometry college. The goal is to support optometry’s next generation of innovative leaders.

In 2017, the second year of the award, two winners have been selected. Alex Martin, a fourth-year OD student from the New England College of Optometry was selected for his Lengua Lista Medical Translator. Lengua Lista would allow English speaking doctors to communicate instantly with Spanish speaking patients through artificially intelligent software that will translate the conversation in real time and allow each person to speak in their native language. It would also auto populate an electronic medical record.

The other winner of the Student Innovator Award is Kathleen Hoang, a third-year OD student from SUNY College of Optometry. Her winning idea, track DM is a tool for diabetes management to improve health, educate on relevant updates in the field and engage users in a dynamic social community. Both winners will present their ideas at the upcoming 2017 Vision Monday Global Leadership Summit.

Each winner will receives a grant of a minimum of $5,000 to further develop their innovative idea. The funds for the award are generated through industry support from Essilor of America, VisionWeb and VSP Global. Individual donations can also be made at

“Jobson’s Rick Bay Foundation is thrilled to be able to work with Essilor, VSP Global and VisionWeb in awarding these Student Innovator Awards to outstanding winners from SUNY College of Optometry and the New England College of Optometry,” said Marc Ferrara, CEO, Information Services for Jobson Medical Information. “The Student Innovator Award program is a unique partnership which will encourage the next generation of optometry to bring impactful, innovative ideas to the profession and our industry.”

“We are excited to sponsor the Student Innovation Award which allows optometry's next generation the opportunity to explore ideas, concepts and innovations they believe will have a positive impact on today's optometric practice," said Jim McGrann, president and CEO of VSP Global.

“As part of our commitment to be at the forefront of innovation, we must continue to support and recognize the newest generation of optometry students whose contributions have the potential to make a lasting impact on our industry, said Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, senior vice president of customer development at Essilor of America, Inc.

“As innovators ourselves, we’re thrilled to support this program where the next big optometric idea may develop, “said Raki Shah, CEO of VisionWeb. “The Rick Bay Foundation is a great opportunity for students to pursue their dreams and publicize their innovation across the industry.”

The Rick Bay Foundation’s goal is to expand the program to many more Colleges of Optometry in the future. To be a part of the program please contact Deb Buturla at or call (212) 274-7087.