ASCO Announces Award Recipients


(Clockwise from top left) Arol Augsburger, OD; Diane Russo, OD; Richard E. Weisbarth, OD; Negar Sohbati; Bhavna Pancholi, OD; and Mark Dunne, OD.

ROCKVILLE, MD, April 23, 2019—The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) announced the recipients of the 2019 Special Recognition Awards. ASCO Lifetime Achievement Award—Dr. Arol Augsburger, president Emeritus of Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) is given this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes an outstanding individual who, over an extended period of time, provided exceptional leadership to ASCO and to optometric education; made outstanding contributions to the optometric community; and displayed exemplary commitment and dedication to the association.

Prior to Dr. Augsburger’s appointment at ICO in 2002, he served 30 years in a variety of leadership roles in higher education, including the interim provost of UAB, dean and professor of the UAB School of Optometry, and professor of clinical optometry at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

ASCO Rising Star Award
Sponsored by Oculus, the ASCO Rising Star Award is given to an outstanding faculty member or administrator with less than seven years of service. This year’s Rising Star awardee is Diane Russo, OD, MPH.

Dr. Russo is an associate professor in the Department of Primary Care at New England College of Optometry where she is instructor of record for the public health course sequence. She is also an attending optometrist at the Codman Square Health Center in Boston where she precepts second-, third- and fourth-year students. She is chair-elect for ASCO’s Public Health Educators Special Interest Group (SIG) and is an active member of the AOA and Massachusetts Society of Optometrists, serving on the Health Promotions Committee and Legislative Action Committee, respectively.

ASCO Ophthalmic Industry Leadership Award
ASCO’s 2019 Industry Leadership Awardee is Richard E. Weisbarth, vice president, professional affairs U.S. Vision Care of Alcon. Dr. Weisbarth received his OD degree from The Ohio State University College of Optometry. He also served in the Contact Lens Practice Residency Program at the University of Alabama in Birmingham School of Optometry.

Dr. Lester Janoff Award for Writing Excellence
Drs. Mark Dunne and Bhavna Pancholi of Aston University are this year’s recipients. Their article, Virtual Patient Instruction and Self-Assessment Accuracy in Optometry Students, was published in the Winter-Spring 2018 (Volume 43 Number 2) of Optometric Education.

Student Award in Clinical Ethics
ASCO and the Ethics Educators SIG announces Negar Sohbati as this year’s winner. This annual award, sponsored by Alcon, provides the winner with a stipend and plaque.

Negar is a student at ICO and is expected to graduate with her doctor of optometry degree next year. Her winning essay, Optometrist as Mandatory Reporter: What is Our Obligation to Keep the Roads Safe for All? will be considered for publication in Optometric Education.