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World Council of Optometry Announces Award Winners




2 leaders in the field are being honored.

(PRESS RELEASE) ST. LOUIS, MO – The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has announced the winners of two international awards recognizing outstanding contributions to optometry. The awards will be presented immediately preceding the 2nd World Congress of Optometry at the WCO Governing Board VIP Dinner, which will be held on Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Novotel Hotel ballroom in Hyderabad, India.

Dr. Robert Chappell, OBE MPhil DSc FCOptom, will be presented with the WCO Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding contribution over time to the achievement of WCO’s vision and mission. This is the highest award that WCO can bestow on an individual.

Chappell trained as an optometrist at City University London. He works in the UK as a community optometrist. Chappell has a lively interest in optometric professional and political matters. He is a past president of the College of Optometrists and was also a member of the General Optical Council, the UK regulatory body for optometrists and dispensing opticians, for 25 years.

Chappell is a past president of both the World Council of Optometry and the European Council of Optometry and Optics. A past chairman of the Legislation, Registration and Standards Committee of the World Council of Optometry, he is currently chairman of the Board of Management for the European Diploma in Optometry. In 2006, he became a trustee of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and in 2009, a trustee of Sightsavers.


Chappell has a particular interest in the international mutual recognition of qualifications to facilitate the free global movement of professionals. He is a joint author of the WCO Global Competency model for optometrists and “Why Optometry,” a WCO-produced document that provides health professionals, government agencies and the general public with an overview of optometrist practice activities and how they relate to the global needs of the public. “Why Optometry” also explains and emphasizes the role of diagnostic and therapeutic matters in optometry practice, and procedures by optometrists to detect early diagnosis of disease to improve overall health for the world’s population.

Chappell has also been closely involved in the development of the European Diploma in Optometry and the ongoing work to recognize prior learning and achievement in Europe. He has received many honours over his distinguished career. In the 1995 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Chappell was awarded an Order of the British Empire for services to optometry. In 2001, the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) was conferred on him by City University, London, and in 2017, Chappell received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK Association of Optometrists.

WCO Paul Berman Young Leader Award

Priya Morjaria will be presented with the WCO Paul Berman Young Leader Award, which is awarded to an optometrist who has made an outstanding contribution over time to the achievement of WCO’s Vision and Mission and shows promising future leadership in world optometry.

Morjaria is a research fellow in public health at the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). She received her optometric education at City University in London United Kingdom and is a member of the College of Optometrists and the European Academy of Optometry & Optics. Morjaria completed her MSc in Public Health for Eye Care at LSHTM and joined ICEH as a researcher where she is currently completing her PhD. Morjaria’s PhD research focuses on improving the efficiency of school programs for uncorrected refractive error with a regional focus on India.

Morjaria has a breadth of experience in eye research in developing countries including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Zambia, Bangladesh and Nepal. She is involved globally as a member of both the Refractive Error Working Group and the School Eye Health Working Group of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) as well as the WCO Public Health Committee. Morjaria also works for Peek Vision Foundation as a research lead. In addition to her passion for her work, she loves challenges such as running marathons and climbed Kilimanjaro last year.



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