Pittsburgh-Based Pennsylvania Vision Foundation Named 2020 William Van Essen Award Recipient

Award Recognizes Significant Efforts to Advance and Promote Vision Care in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Vision Foundation today announced that it is the recipient of the 2020 William Van Essen Award, as selected by The Pennsylvania Optometric Association. The annual Van Essen Award is given once a year to an individual or organization who has made significant efforts to advance and promote vision care in Pennsylvania.

“It is an honor to receive the 2020 William Van Essen Award,” said Dr. Andrew Leitzel, Executive Director of the Foundation. “The mission of the Foundation is to conduct and finance projects to foster and preserve human eyesight through the science of optometry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We are extremely grateful to our community partners who help support our mission and make our work possible.”

The Foundation's primary initiative is a Benefit Program where, in conjunction with partner agencies, it identifies those in need and provides no-charge comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses. To date, the Foundation has proudly assisted more than 5,600 uninsured Pennsylvanians.

“As a pilot participant in the Foundation’s Benefit Program, Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania (VROCP) has been able to further our mission by expanding clinic hours and increasing the number of clients we are able to serve,” said Cheryl Cuddy, Director of Community Relations of VROCP. “We are extremely proud and grateful to be a partner of the Foundation and equally grateful for the leaders who give their time and talents to make it possible.”

“Since 2017, VisionCorps has had the benefit of partnering with the Foundation to help expand the scope of services available to Pennsylvanians in need,” said Chris Ament, Vice President of Rehabilitation & Education of VisionCorps. “Through this unique partnership, VisionCorps has been able to screen thousands of children for undetected vision loss, grant low-vision aides to individuals with vision loss and provide over 1,800 Benefit Forms to Pennsylvanians in need of routine eye exams and glasses.”

The William Van Essen Award is instituted in memory of Dr. William Van Essen, who was a leader in both state and national optometric associations. Dr. Van Essen served as president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association from 1920-1923 and practiced optometry in Pittsburgh for 55 years. He loved his profession and was instrumental in the licensing of the profession of optometry in Pennsylvania.

The Foundation was nominated for the award by The Central Pennsylvania Optometric Society and Berks County Optometric Society.

Media Contact
Contact: Emily Shrader​
Telephone: 412-881-4900 x 232
​Email: eshrader@vbaplans.com

Source: Pennsylvania Vision Foundation


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