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ASCO Announces Special Recognition Award Recipients

ASCO’s virtual Annual Business Meeting was held on June 24.




(PRESS RELEASE) ROCKVILLE, MD – The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) announces the recipients of the 2020 Special Recognition Awards.

ASCO Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Janice Scharre is this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner and ASCO’s first female recipient. This award recognizes an outstanding individual who, over an extended period of time, provided exceptional leadership to ASCO and to optometric education; made outstanding contributions to the optometric community; and displayed exemplary commitment and dedication to the association.

Dr. Janice Scharre began her optometric career as a graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) in 1976. Shortly after graduation, she joined the faculty at ICO, where she served in a variety of capacities. Among the awards she received at ICO was the Inaugural Dr. Joseph L. Henry Achievement Award in June 2007.

Scharre with her colleague, Dr. David Heath, developed and implemented the Association of Schools and Colleges Faculty Development Institute, a program designed to enhance faculty teaching and professional development skills.

In 2014, Scharre joined Salus University as the Provost. At Salus, she had the opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary educational setting with Pennsylvania College of Optometry as the founding college of the University. Scharre was recently awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by Salus University. She retired from Salus in 2018.

“I am honored to be the 2020 recipient of ASCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” says Scharre. “I have had the opportunity to work with gifted faculty and dedicated administrators on behalf of students and patients throughout my career. I have been blessed with supportive mentors and colleagues in my work. My accomplishments are a reflection of those who have supported and guided me throughout my career. It is humbling to me to be recognized from my peers in this way.


“The work that ASCO does for the enhancement of optometric education and the profession is outstanding. Over the years I have witnessed this group take on difficult issues and develop and implement strategies for the good of students, the profession, and the public,” she continues. “We currently are in the most significant time of disruption to optometric training that I have ever seen in my lifetime. I am confident that, as a collective body, you will continue to maintain a high quality of optometric education for our students and patients.”

ASCO Rising Star Award

Sponsored by Oculus, the ASCO Rising Star Award is given to an outstanding faculty member or administrator with less than seven years of service who has made noteworthy contributions to fulfilling the mission, strategic objections, or programs of ASCO. This year’s Rising Star awardee is Erik Mothersbaugh, OD, MPH.

Mothersbaugh serves as the dean of student affairs at Illinois College of Optometry, where he is primarily focused on the areas of Recruiting, Admissions, and Student Services. He is an alum of ICO, who after completing his Doctor of Optometry degree in 2012 stayed to complete a Residency in Primary Care and Ocular Disease. He then served full-time on ICO’s faculty before joining the President’s Administrative Cabinet in 2018. During his time as a faculty member he taught courses in Visual Optics and Ethics in addition to patient care responsibilities in the Primary Care and Urgent Care services of the Illinois Eye Institute.

“It is an honor to be recognized by ASCO for this award,” says Mothersbaugh. “Among this group I have no shortage of mentorship. I am incredibly grateful to be part of an organization so dedicated to high quality education and the future of the profession of Optometry. Thank you!”

ASCO Student Award in Clinical Ethics

This annual national award, sponsored by Alcon, is available to optometry students during any point of their professional program at an ASCO-affiliated school or college of optometry in the United States and Canada. The application consists of an essay of up to 1,500 words describing any one of the following scenarios:

  1. A patient based case-study that the student encountered as part of their clinical learning experience.
  2. A research based case scenario that the student has encountered during their clinical or didactic learning experience.
  3. A professional ethics based scenario that the student has encountered during their clinical or didactic learning.

ASCO and the Ethics Educators SIG are pleased to announce Ryan Yuan as the winner of the 2020 Student Award in Clinical Ethics. This annual national award provides the winner with a $1,000 award check and an acrylic engraved plaque.


Yuan is a recent 2020 graduate of the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University. His winning essay, “Ethics of Ocular Pain Management,” will also be featured in ASCO’s Journal, Optometric Education.

Yuan was sent his award and was virtually acknowledged during his graduation ceremony. Scharre and Mothersbaugh will be acknowledged during ASCO’s virtual Annual Business Meeting on June 24, 2020. ASCO’s Annual Meeting is open to all who wish to attend. Register for the meeting here. Registrants will receive a link to attend the meeting soon after.



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