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ASCRS Foundation Names Humanitarian Award Winner

The award recognizes ‘outstanding humanitarian work in the area of cataract blindness.’

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(PRESS RELEASE) FAIRFAX, VA – The American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery Foundation announces that Richard Litwin, MD, is the 2019 ASCRS Foundation Chang Humanitarian Award winner.

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This annual award, which is endowed by Dr. David F. Chang and his wife, Victoria, was created to celebrate and highlight outstanding humanitarian work in the area of cataract blindness. Litwin exemplifies these qualities through his extensive humanitarian work. The award will be presented to Litwin at the 2019 ASCRS•ASOA Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. Litwin has earmarked the $50,000 grant to support Seva Foundation, whose mission is to work with local communities around the world to develop self-sustaining programs that preserve and restore sight. Seva Foundation is an ASCRS Foundation partner. In recognition of Litwin’s long service to Seva and his receipt of the Chang Humanitarian Award, the Seva Board of Directors has agreed to match these prize funds, infusing a total of $100,000 into Seva’s programs.

Dr. Chundak Tenzing, Seva’s medical director, said, “Dr. Litwin travels to the most neglected places in the world. Dr. Litwin is a great role model for ophthalmologists from developing countries. He cultivates long-term friendships and mentorships. Beyond his role as an ophthalmologist and trainer, Dr. Litwin visits geographic areas of great need and identifies partners who share the same mission as Seva Foundation to eliminate avoidable blindness.”

Litwin was one of 33 nominees for this year’s Chang Award. After nominators completed a detailed submission form, the ASCRS Foundation Nominating Committee spent hours reviewing the applications and supporting documents. The field of nominees was richly diverse and deserving of recognition. The Nominating Committee sent a handful of finalists to the ASCRS Foundation Board of Directors, which further reviewed the nominations and selected the ultimate winner.

After Litwin was chosen to receive the Chang Humanitarian Award, Chang issued this statement: “Dick personifies the unsung hero – someone who neither seeks, nor receives recognition for a lifetime of great deeds. Indeed, very few will have heard of this ophthalmologist in solo private practice, who’s had tremendous impact on the treatment of cataract blindness in the developing world.”

For more information about the ASCRS Foundation Chang Humanitarian Award, visit ascrsfoundation.org/changaward.

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