About the Award

The Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award recognizes significant efforts by an individual or group of individuals to improve public health approaches for children’s vision and eye health at the state or national level.  The award was established in 2014 by the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health Advisory Committee to commemorate Dr. Bonnie Strickland and her groundbreaking work to establish a comprehensive system for children’s vision in the United States.  Strickland served as Director of the Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs, Maternal and Child Health Bureau before her retirement in 2014.


Nominees for the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award may include individuals (such as a parent advocate, legislator, or professional) or a group comprised of diverse stakeholders, including family and community leaders, who are implementing changes to improve children’s vision and eye health in the United States.  The NCCVEH seeks nominations of individuals or groups who seek out new and innovative solutions to common barriers to healthy vision in children.  Nominees should be able to demonstrate an impact in one or more areas of a public health system supporting children’s vision:

  • Key Stakeholder Engagement or Collaboration, including representation from families and diverse racial/ethnic/geographic and socio-economic levels target populations
  • Training and Education
  • Public Awareness
  • Provision of Resources and/or Services
  • Surveillance and Accountability
  • Reduction of Health Disparities
  • Infrastructure Development- Local, State, or National Level

Call for Nominations

Nominations for the 2018 Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award are now being accepted through June 15, 2018.  Download the nomination form and instructions here and submit the completed document and attachments to the email address provided.

Download the 2018 Nomination Form.


The 2017 Recipient is Sean P. Donahue, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt University.  Dr. Donahue was selected by the volunteer Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award Committee for his efforts to improve children’s vision through stakeholder engagement, volunteer coordination, and advancement of vision screening technology.  

Highlighted contributions to children’s vision and eye health include:

  1. Establishing a partnership with the Tennessee Lions Club to develop a vision screening program targeting preschool-aged children
  2. Demonstrating program growth and sustainability growing from a state-level program to a national vision screening program in partnership with the Lions Club International Foundation which has screened more than 2 million children
  3. Increasing available published scientific articles driving the use of evidence-based automated vision screening practices
  4. Promoting collaboration across professional stakeholder groups to develop uniform best practices in vision screening methodology.

Past Recipients

2016 Recipient: The Illinois Eye Institute (IEI) at Princeton Vision Clinic based at the Illinois College of Optometry.  The IEI at Princeton was selected by the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award Committee for its consistent and on-going commitment to addressing the unmet visual needs of Chicago Public School students.

2016 Honorable Mention: Vivian James, PhD, North Carolina Preschool Exceptional Children Coordinator for the Office of Early Learning - State Board of Education, Department of Public Instruction.  Dr. James was recognized for her exceptional work in North Carolina to improve vision screening systems as they relate to public health professional training as well as special education eligibility determinations. 

2015 Recipient: The Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Children’s (PPOC) based at the Boston Children’s Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts.  The PPOC was selected by the Award Committee for its consistent and on-going commitment to introducing proven and innovative new approaches to pediatric vision screening and care to providers and patients in the medical home setting.