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Center for Vision and Population Health at Prevent Blindness Welcomes New Advisory Committee Members

Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has announced the appointment of its new Advisory Committee Members for the Center for Vision and Population Health at Prevent Blindness (CVPH). The CVPH was established in December 2018 as a national coordinating body for effective practices, state-level technical assistance, and programmatic interventions.

This month, the CVPH convened the full membership of the Advisory Committee in Chicago for the first time, led by committee chair Heather E. Whitson, MD, MHS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Professor in Ophthalmology, and Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University. The committee is comprised of experts from the medical, scientific, public health, research and rehabilitation sectors, as well as patient advocates. Members of the committee include:

  • Kristina Beaugh, MPH, CHES, Director, National Eye Health Education Program- National Eye Institute
  • Mitchell V. Brinks, MD, MPH, Co-Director International Ophthalmology, Medical Director for Domestic Outreach, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, The Oregon Health and Science University
  • Anne L. Coleman, MD, PhD, Fran & Ray Stark Foundation Professor of Ophthalmology, Stein Eye Institute, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
  • Joshua R. Ehrlich, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan
  • Kevin Frick, PhD, Professor and Vice Dean for Education, Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School
  • Judith E. Goldstein, OD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Rehabilitation, Director of Lions Low Vision Clinical Services, Lions Low Vision Rehabilitation Service, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins
  • Peter Jacobson, JD, MPH, Professor Emeritus of Health Law and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Paul P. Lee, MD, JD, F. Bruce Fralick Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences University of Michigan, Director, W.K. Kellogg Eye Center
  • Jordan Luke, M.A.Ec, Director, Program Alignment & Partner Engagement Group, CMS- Office of Minority Health
  • Edwin Marshall, OD, MS, MPH, Professor Emeritus of Optometry and Public Health, Indiana University
  • Chris Maylahn, MPH, DrPH, Program Research Specialist, New York State Department of Health
  • Nancy D. Miller, LMSW, Executive Director/CEO, VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Marc Molea, Chief of Strategic Partnership, Ohio Department of Aging
  • Thomas Panek, President & CEO, Guiding Eyes for the Blind
  • David B. Rein, PhD, MPA, Director, Public Health Analytics Program, NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Frank Sloan, PhD, J. Alexander McMahon Professor Emeritus of Health Policy and Management, Duke University
  • Joan Stelmack, OD, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology; Director, Low Vision Service, Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary
  • Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University
  • Dean VanNasdale, OD, MS, PhD, Associate Professor, Ohio State University College of Optometry
  • Xinzhi Zhang, MD, PhD, FACE, FRSM, Program Director, Division of Clinical Innovation, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health

Additional representation provided by Jinan Saaddine, MD, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist/Team Leader, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Carol Tangum, MPH, Consultant, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

Funding for this meeting was made possible (in part) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply the endorsement of the U.S. Government.

“Healthy vision can be a key component to independence and well-being for people of all ages. However, barriers such as poor access to eye care, lack of insurance coverage, and inconsistent policies for eye health can prevent early detection and treatment of eye disorders,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “The CVPH is committed to convening key leaders in vision, public health, and patient advocacy to address these barriers to healthy vision, promote access to care and rehabilitative services, and work to increase the uniformity of vision policies nationally.”

The CVPH will leverage key stakeholder input (including those from outside the Advisory Committee), data from improved surveillance efforts (including state and national survey data), and peer-reviewed scientific literature to identify areas of geographic, population, and disease significance that provide opportunities for significant impact. Initial focus areas of the Advisory Committee include:

1. Conducting an assessment of existing multi-stakeholder groups with missions that align with the CVPH and establish a communication sharing plan

2. Implementing campaigns to increase program-level interventions and individual-level awareness of vision impairments and promote behavior modifications that will prevent eye disease or promote improved quality of life

3. Conducting an environmental scan for existing or emerging toolkits/best practices/research in vision and eye health; health promotion in vulnerable populations; health collaborations; other areas of health or rehabilitation emphasis and promote utilization of these resources and practices

4. Leveraging national data sources, prevalence data, and research to produce a report on the state of vision and eye health in the US.

5. Disseminating information via journal publications and presentations to key stakeholder groups; and integrating data-driven eye health information into websites, news, and social media sources at the programmatic, state, and national levels

6. Reviewing existing measures of accountability in the public health and health care system to determine existing and needed measures and policies to support vision and eye health

According to the CVPH’s staff lead, Kira Baldonado, vice president of public health and policy at Prevent Blindness, “The information, resources, and guidance developed by the CVPH are designed to result in increased awareness about eye health and preventive practices that can be integrated into existing health and social service programs, ultimately elevating the attention given to eye health and quality of life in the context of population health programs.”

For more information on the Center for Vision and Population Health at Prevent Blindness, please call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020 or visit

About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call (800) 331-2020. Or, visit us on the Web at or

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