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International Optometrist Award 2022

We are pleased to announce that this year's winner of the International Optometrist Award of the Year is the professor Janet L. Leasher a prominent Professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the United States of America

It is also an honor that Prof.Janet L. Leasher has accepted to be sponsor of this year’s students entry, so he will become Mentor of Class 2022-2026 at Facultat Optica i Optometria de Terrassa.



Janet L. Leasher, OD, MPH, FAAO, FNAP is a Professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the United States of America. She received her Doctor of Optometry degree from Pacific University College of Optometry in 1986. In 1999, she received her Master's in Public Health in International Health and Development from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is a 2007 Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a 2017 Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Practice in Optometry.  She was named Professor of the Year 2022 for the NSU College of Optometry and has been nominated as Distinguished Professor of the Year for the entire university.

Her connection with UPC-FOOT stems from serving as the North American Coordinator of the UNESCO Chair in Visual Health and Development from 2004 to 2016 under the co-directorship of Anna Rius and Laura Guisasola.  During those years she visited FOOT-UPC many times, spending weeks as a visiting scholar in residence under a grant from the Ministry of Education from Spain.  She assisted in the development of courses, educational seminars and collaborative projects across the Americas, in capacity building and research and cooperation for development.  She represented the UNESCO Chair on the Council of Members of the International Agency to Prevent Blindness as one of very few optometrists to speak out about vision's elemental role in quality of life, and in sustainable development.  

Apart from public health teaching assignments in health promotion, disease prevention, ethics, economics, policy and health systems in the NSU Doctor of Optometry program and guiding third year students as their clinical preceptor, she works on her research focused on program evaluation, global epidemiology, and global access to quality vision care, publishing over 75 papers in these areas with over 65,000 citations. Since 2007, she has served as the regional coordinator for the Americas in the Vision Loss Expert Group for the Global Burden of Disease, Risk Factors and Injuries Study. She is recognized in the top 40 among the top 200 optometric researchers worldwide.

She currently serves the United States of America's National Eye Institute as a planning group member for the National Eye Health Education Program and the strategic planning task force for public health research priorities. Her service to the U.S. Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry includes the Public Health Educators Special Interest Group (SIG), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion SIG, International Optometric Educator SIG, the Ethics SIG, the Cultural Competency Curriculum Workshop Task Force and as a cultural competency trainer. She is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Optometry, the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the World Council of Optometry. She previously served NSU as the Director of Community Outreach.