Congratulations to AOA’s 2019 award winners

April 4, 2019
The award recipients demonstrate remarkable leadership when serving the profession, patients and their community. The AOA will be honoring six individuals and a public health program at Optometry's Meeting®, the AOA's largest annual meeting, on Wednesday, June 19.
AOA 2019 award winners

The AOA is honoring six individuals and a public health program with its annual awards.

The award winners will be recognized at Optometry's Meeting® 2019 during the AOA Block Party on Wednesday, June 19, from 4-7 p.m. Substituting the traditional Opening General Session, Optometry's Meeting will kick off at the St. Louis headquarters. Complete with live music and entertainment, local food trucks and hometown brews, the AOA Block Party offers a festival-like, laid-back and casual experience great for the whole family. Come watch the awards ceremony and tour the home of the AOA with indoor and outdoor events.

Conference attendees can access continuous transportation to and from AOA's headquarters and the America's Center Convention Complex starting at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Be sure to check aoa.org/news for further updates and announcements as the countdown to Optometry's Meeting begins.

  • The Optometrist of the Year Award recognizes Ben Casella, O.D., of Georgia, for his outstanding service on behalf of the profession and the visual welfare of the public.
  • The Young Optometrist of the Year Award recognizes Jennifer Kohn, O.D., of Indiana, who has been in practice less than 10 years and demonstrates remarkable leadership when serving the profession, patients and her community.
  • The Optometric Educator Award recognizes Zanna Kruoch, O.D., of Texas, for outstanding service on behalf of the profession, optometric education and the visual welfare of the public.
  • The Paraoptometric of the Year Award recognizes Melanie Jenkins, CPO, of Tennessee, for her significant contributions to the profession of paraoptometry.
  • The Paraoptometric Community Service Award recognizes Marietta Richman of New Jersey for generously donating her time and talents to the profession of optometry, patients and the public.
  • The Distinguished Service Award recognizes Mark Hennen, O.D., of Minnesota, for his unusually significant contributions to the profession of optometry.
  • The Apollo Award, the highest award presented to the general public by the AOA, honoring persons or organizations for distinguished service to the visual welfare of the public, recognizes The Real Eyes Program of Ohio.

The AOA congratulates all 2019 award nominees

The Optometrist of the Year and Young Optometrist of the Year were selected from a robust field of nominees from 27 state associations and the Armed Forces Optometric Society. Each of these AOA-member doctors of optometry have distinguished themselves, and the profession, and are deserving of recognition and appreciation.

Related News

Who are you? AOA is letting America know

AOA’s public health observance calls out the bait-and-switch of online vision tests with a campaign emphasizing why there is no substitute for in-person eye health care with a doctor of optometry.

Developing a new generation of optometric leaders

In a virtual kick-off, the AOA launches Leadership Institute with 130 doctors of optometry from across the country. A project of the AOA Leadership Development Committee, the Institute is a yearlong program designed to grow and support the next generation of leaders in the profession.

After the peaks and valleys of 2020, AOA leaders ready for the next mountain to conquer

At the 2021 Leaders Summit, AOA-member volunteers set priorities for the year and launched new initiatives to lead the profession forward.