Meet our Vision Excellence Award Winners!

A girl in Guatemala has her eyes examined. Photo by Joe Raffanti.

The International Association of Blindness (IAPB) created the Vision Excellence Award to commemorate the end of its 21-year global initiative, VISION 2020: A Right to Sight. In recognition of their life-changing, world-transforming work in the field of humanitarian eye care, IAPB has recognized a total of ten Seva team members and partners with the prize.

“On behalf of the whole Seva family, congratulations to these extraordinary sight leaders and practitioners,” says Kate Moynihan, Executive Director of Seva Foundation. “Seva staff and partners consistently set the standard for patient-centered vision care. Today’s award winners share the commitment and quality of work that brings access to sustainable eye care to millions of individuals and their communities worldwide. I can’t wait to see how – together – we will continue to change the world.”

Thank you for supporting Seva and making these incredible accomplishments possible!

At Seva, we are particularly proud to have nominated five women who were recognized for their game-changing roles in the fight against avoidable blindness. Their pioneering spirit of creativity, dedication, and persistence has charted a path for the future of vision care:

Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, Ph.D., MPH

Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, Ph.D., MPH, is Seva’s Senior Director for Research and Strategic Opportunities. An eye care visionary and Seva gem, Suzanne co-founded Seva Foundation in 1978. With over 44 years of contribution and dedication across the spectrum of eye care health and ophthalmology, Suzanne has influenced community-based eye care around the world. Her accomplishments are many. Dr. Gilbert was instrumental in the creation of the global initiative VISION 2020: The Right to Sight. She has been co-chair of the IAPB Human Resources in Eye Health Work Group for more than a decade, and also co-chairs the IAPB COVID-19 Work Group, recently co-authoring an article on COVID-19 in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. Suzanne also represents North America as the IAPB chair of the region. In addition to all this, at Seva, she leads the research and innovation of eye care technology and solutions to meet the needs of doctors and patients alike.

Dr. Lucia Silva, MD

Dr. Lucia Silva, MD, is the Medical Director at Visualiza Clínica Médica Oftalmológica. Dr. Lucia leads a team that provides a dynamic and progressive training program for its ophthalmologists, associates, and support staff. As an advocate for vision care, she is passionate about providing other female ophthalmologists with leadership and decision-making opportunities. She hopes to make this a growing tendency of female empowerment within the eye care profession in Guatemala and around the world. As a testament to her commitment, today, more than 70% of the organization’s manager positions are women. As a part of the Global Sight Initiative, she has shared her expertise with mentee hospitals, developed cataract and glaucoma training programs, and advised organizations on best practices that she has learned during her time at Visualiza.

Ms. Elizabeth Kishiki, ICHD/MPH

Ms. Elizabeth Kishiki, ICHD/MPH, Childhood Blindness and Low Vision Coordinator at Kilimanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO), is a pioneer in children’s vision care. For the past 14 years, Elizabeth has been a champion for women and girls in countries where they are often underserved. Additionally, She has helped establish several Child Eye Health Tertiary Facilities, in areas that include Kitwe (Zambia), Blantyre (Malawi), Gondar (Ethiopia), Antananarivo (Madagascar), Tororo (Uganda), and Bujumbura (Burundi). Ms. Kishiki is an inspiration and a true eye care superstar.

Dr. Lindsey Marvel, OD

Dr. Lindsey Marvel, OD, is an Optometry Specialist who works with Kewa Pueblo Health Corporation (KPHC), near Albuquerque, New Mexico. A Seva partner, Dr. Marvel provides critical vision care to underprivileged Native American communities throughout the United States. As a Native of the Caddo Nation, a federally recognized Southeastern Native American tribe, she is passionate about developing technology and telehealth solutions that increase access to eye care for some of the most vulnerable communities in the country.

Ms. Sujata Bhandari

Ms. Sujata Bhandari is the Clinic-In-Charge at the Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh’s Lumbini Eye Institute District Eye Care Center (NNJS LEI District) in Pyuthan, Nepal. Since she was a child, Sujata wanted to help people in need. But married women in Nepal traditionally do not leave their hometowns and travel far for work. Nevertheless, Sujata refused to be discouraged. She studied and trained hard, and when she reached adulthood, she traveled far from home and moved to Pyuthan District. Since 2017, Sujata’s creative leadership of the clinic has led to a dramatic increase in patients treated annually, better financial stability, and greater engagement with community leaders and teachers.

We are thrilled to congratulate all IAPB Vision Excellence Award winners, including the following Seva partners:

Dr. Mitch Brinks, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Casey Eye Institute

Dr. Ellery Lopez Star, MD, Medical Director, Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmología

Dr. Gullapalli Nageswara Rao, MD, Founder Chair, LV Prasad Eye Institute

Mr. Thulasiraj Ravilla, DIrector of Operations, Aravind Eye Care System

Drs. Susan Lewallen MD, and Paul Courtright, MD, Founders, Kilimanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology

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