Gerald Simon, OD. Photo courtesy of AJ Stephens
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Gerald Simon, OD, the associate dean for student affairs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, has been named 2022 Optometrist of the Year by the National Optometric Association. Simon was nominated for the award for his impact on student recruitment efforts in the UAB School of Optometry. Masherrill Koonce, OD, UAB alumna, nominated Simon for his efforts. “I nominated Dr. Simon for the work he has done to increase minority enrollment at UABSO,” Koonce said.

“The mission of the NOA is ‘advancing the visual health of minority populations.’ One of the objectives to fulfill this mission is to recruit minority students into schools and colleges of optometry. I could not think of a more deserving candidate for this award.”
Simon, the associate dean of student affairs, received the Dean’s Distinguished Service award in 2022 to acknowledge his leadership and service to the community and the optometric profession. He was selected for this award by School of Optometry dean Kelly Nichols in part due to his successful mentorship of minority students and recognition of the need for diversity in optometry.
“I am grateful for my career and find purpose in encouraging young minorities to pursue the optometric profession,” Simon said. “This award confirms that I am making a difference and effectively giving back to a profession that has beautifully impacted my life.”