The late Professor Brien Holden
By Helen Carter
The American Academy of Optometry has announced the establishment of the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award to honour the memory and work of the late Professor Brien Holden.
The award, announced on 11 November at the academy’s annual meeting in Anaheim, was established by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Holden family estate and will be given annually, starting in 2017.
It will recognise an individual or organisation that has made significant contributions to improve eye care within a country or region. In particular, the award will acknowledge humanitarian efforts in the not-for-profit sector that build or support the development of sustainable eye-care systems in developing communities.
Academy president Dr Brett Bence said the academy was honoured to be given the opportunity to administer the new award that perfectly reflected Professor Holden’s passion for finding regional and global solutions for vision disparities.
The award will help sustain awareness of Brien Holden’s legacy and humanitarian contributions.
CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Professor Kovin Naidoo said it was a wonderful acknowledgement by the academy, a body that Professor Holden greatly respected, and a meeting he enthusiastically attended for about four decades.
‘This award will give important recognition to those people who may not be known globally but who are making a difference in eye care in their country or region,’ Professor Naidoo said.
Professor Holden founded the Brien Holden Vision Institute and was a global leader in eye care and vision research, an internationally renowned and awarded scientist, a humanitarian, and a Professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of New South Wales.
An academy Life Fellow and a Diplomate in the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies, he was also a Presidents Circle member and supporter of the American Optometric Foundation, the academy’s philanthropic arm.
Professor Holden received several academy awards including its highest honour, the Charles F Prentice Medal and Lecture at Academy 2014 Denver.
Nominations for the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award should include two letters of nomination from academy Fellows and a CV of the nominee. Nominations are due to HelenV@aaoptom.org by 1 April 2017.
The academy’s next annual meeting will be on 11-14 October 2017 in Chicago.