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AAO Advocacy Award From left: AUPO and 2018 AAO President Keith Carter, MD; Emory Eye Center's Retina Specialist Blaine Cribbs, MD, Residency Program Director Jeremy Jones, MD; and Interim Chair Allen Beck, MD; AAO Secretary of State Affairs Kurt Heitman, MD.


January 25, 2018
Media Contact: Leigh DeLozier, 404-778-3711,

Emory Eye Center Residency Program Wins AAO Commitment to Advocacy Award

Emory Eye Center is the 2017 recipient of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)’s Commitment to Advocacy Award. The announcement was made during the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting last week.

AAO created the award to recognize an ophthalmology training program and its leadership for demonstrating commitment to the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador Program. The program is designed to give residents and fellows hands-on training in advocacy and policy development, including supporting their attendance at the Academy’s annual Mid-Year Forum and Congressional Advocacy Day. It is a collaboration between state and subspecialty societies and training programs to support resident attendance at state and federal legislative functions.

“This award recognizes the efforts of all our involved faculty and residents who have worked so hard to advocate for the safety of our patients and our profession,” says Jeremy Jones, MD, Emory Eye Center’s residency program director.

“One example of those efforts is Dr. Purnima Patel, who has put tremendous time and effort into expanding the program for Advocacy Ambassadors at the AAO’s Mid-Year Forum and works with our young ophthalmologists here through the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology.”

“I am tremendously proud of our residency teachers and mentors, as well as our residents,” adds Allen Beck, MD, interim chair of ophthalmology and interim director of Emory Eye Center. “This award represents a concerted effort to involve our residents in the development of public eye health policy.”

The awardee is determined by the Academy's Secretariat for State Affairs and approved by the boards of the Academy and the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO). Previous recipients were Wills Eye Hospital (2014), Vanderbilt Eye Institute (2015), and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (2016).


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