2018 Award Recipients

Katie Brown, O.D.

2018 Young Optometrist of the Year

This award is given to a young O.D. who has been in practice a minimum of four years. The award should be made somewhere in the fourth to tenth year of service to the profession and who is a person who shows promise and interest in ArOA leadership by volunteering his service to committees and special projects and showing an exceptional zeal.  We are proud to announce Dr. Katie Brown as the 2018 Young Optometrist of the Year.

Dr. Katie Brown graduated from Southern College of Optometry in 2012.  She has found her home in academics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for the last 5 years.  Dr. Brown has honed her specialty contact lens skills with an emphasis in scleral lens fittings during this time at UAMS by receiving referrals from 5 cornea specialists and 2 retina specialists with variety of different anterior segment issues.  She was recently promoted to Assistant Professor of the College of Medicine in the Department of Ophthalmology and was the first optometrist on faculty to receive promotion and to be put on a promotion and tenure track within the UAMS system.  

 Dr. Brown enjoys practicing in academic medicine and bridging the gap of communication between ophthalmology and optometry by hosting quarterly community optometry education events at Jones Eye Institute and coordinating UAMS Rapid Fire continuing education at spring convention for the past three years.  She teaches ophthalmic medical technology undergraduate students, medical students, and ophthalmology residents geometric, physical, and ophthalmic optics, contact lens, and general optometry/ophthalmology examination techniques.  During her time at UAMS, Dr. Brown has been awarded the 5 Star Medical Student Teaching Award from the UAMS College of Medicine in 2016.  She is also the Ophthalmology Resident Optics Course Developer and Director and has received recognition for the ophthalmology residents’ success on their 2017 National Ophthalmic Knowledge and Assessment Program exam in which they collectively scored the highest in the Optics section of the test.

Dr. Brown enjoys community service and is the Little Rock Shepherd’s Hope Free Eye Clinic Coordinator in which she helps to schedule doctor and tech volunteers for 2 free eye clinics per month as well as participating as a volunteer herself.  She has also assisted in scheduling and volunteering on MLK Day 2018 in the first event for ROOTS (Rural Ophthalmology Optometry Treatment and Screening), a non-profit organization formed by a first year UAMS medical students under her mentorship.

As far as her service to optometry, Dr. Brown states, “I have developed a passion for bringing groups together.  Specifically, Ophthalmology and Optometry. Because of my close working relationship with ophthalmologists, I have made it my goal to offer events in which OD’s/MD’s can come together through education.  Quarterly, I organize free education events with MD and OD speakers which are offered to community optometrists.”

For her service to the ArOA and AOA, Dr. Brown is actively involved in student membership education and recruitment.  She serves the ArOA on the Membership Committee as the coordinator of the most recent Membership Campaign targeting young OD’s. She has planned the first two Young OD/Membership Events in Little Rock and Bentonville. She is actively involved in student membership education and recruitment and has served on the Public Relation committee in the past.

Dr. A.B. Naylor said, “She has given us more exposure to established Ophthalmologists as well as Ophthalmology residents. It allows both groups to recognize what the other side is doing and makes them less of a threat and more of a friend.  She demonstrates service to optometry by increasing educational opportunities outside of the normal convention education track. The better trained and more knowledgeable we are as a profession, the better able we are to serve the public.”

She is married to Matt Brown, AuD and they reside in Benton where they are members of the Holland Chapel Baptist Church.

Lauren Harmon

2018 Paraoptometric of the Year

This award is given to an outstanding paraoptometric who works for a member of the Arkansas Optometric Association and has shown service to Optometry and the association; community involvement and has a personal endorsement from a member of the Arkansas Optometric Association. 

We are pleased to announce Lauren Harmon as the 2018 Paraoptometric of the Year.  

Lauren works with Dr. Joe Sugg at Heber Springs Eye Care Center.  Says Dr. Sugg, “Lauren is a hard-working, caring, selfless leader of our practice.  Since becoming our office manager, she has worked seamlessly to elevate our business and is always looking for ways to improve patient care and business operations.  We have become much more efficient, paperless, and compliant, and our practice has grown to new levels under her leadership.  She is always evaluating our numbers and practice metrics to identify improvements that can be made.  She can work any position in our office, and she immediately elevates the expectation at each position. She always puts both patients and the practice first when making decisions or implementing changes, even when she knows it may make her job more difficult.”

Lauren shows her dedication in optometry by taking over many administrative duties, is working toward becoming a licensed optician in Arkansas.  She was a licensed optician in another state.  She shows dedicate to her profession by gaining education and has attended every spring convention since joining Heber Spring Eye Care practice in order to further her education.  She also attended SECO and will be attending Vision Expo this year in order to further her education in Optometry. 

Laurens provide service to the visual welfare of the public by planning and attending multiple health fairs and business expos in our community in order to promote Optometry and draw awareness to eye health.

She is very involved in her local church, serving on the production team and until very recently as a youth group leader.

She is married to Michael Harmon and has one daughter, Maggie. 

2018 American Optometric Association Young Optometric of the Year

We are proud of Dr. Matt Jones, who has been named the Young Optometrist of the Year by the American Optometric Association.  This Award recognizes Matthew Jones, O.D., of Arkansas, who has been in practice less than 10 years and demonstrates remarkable leadership when serving the profession, patients and her community. READ MORE.



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