Innovation in Education Grants


The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Vision, Inc., are pleased to offer the 2017 Innovation in Education Grants program.  This award is designed to aid recently appointed faculty in advancing their teaching skills in the areas of improving delivery of information to students, new methodologies, increasing the use of new technology in all teaching settings, and the promotion of online learning tools. 

Priority will be given to innovative and creative projects. Applications for consideration should be for a broad range of faculty development activities in the setting of optometric education; including classroom, laboratory, clinical, and external activities. Applications must outline the need for the funding, the criteria for success, and a detailed budget.

Requests for equipment or exceptional travel needs will not be considered.

Recipients will be encouraged to submit any results or outcomes from the funded project for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry. Presenter must acknowledge the support of Johnson & Johnson Vision and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation.

Award and Eligibility

Any faculty member at a North-American optometric institution with less than 10 years experience in the field may submit one application for funding.  Up to three awards and a total of $18,000 in grant funds will be awarded in 2017.

NOTE: Grant funding will be issued to the institution/school/college.

Individuals who have held appointments at more than one institution are eligible and the calculation is based on total years rather than time at current appointment. Any faculty more than 10 years beyond completion of their formal training, who feels they qualify because of extenuating circumstances (military leave, maternity, teaching sabbatical, medical reason), should make a clear case for inclusion to apply in a statement on their cover page.

  • Adjunct or auxiliary faculty members may apply but the application must be accompanied by a letter from the President/Dean/Director confirming appointment & affiliation.
  • A one-page report must be submitted to the AAOF within one year of the award or the applicant and/or institution become ineligible for funding subsequent years. 
  • Applicants must be a member of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). To learn more, visit the AAO website:


Opens May 1, 2017

Closes July 1, 2017

Application and Review Process

Submission is by e-mail (preferably in PDF format) to: and must contain the following components:

  • Cover page; project title, institution and address, name (including degree(s)) and title for faculty member(s) with contact information. One page.
  • Proposal; introduction, background and significance; specific aims; design and methods. This section should total no more than 3 pages.
  • Budget and budget justification (one page). Faculty time is not allowable, although time for other individuals may be allowable, if justified, e.g., technical assistance, modest incentive payments to survey participants, facilitators, etc.

*NOTE: The AAOF is a non-profit organization and our policy is not to cover any indirect costs associated with the Innovation in Education Grant  or any other of our programs. This policy applies uniformly to all award recipients.  Also, any funds budgeted that go toward a licensed OD or MD will be expected to submit additonal paperwork to comply with recent government Sunshine and Pharma oversite rulings.

  • C.V. (maximum of 2 pages) that must include:
    • Full contact information 
    • Education/training; research and professional experience; honors and awards.
  • Letter of support (one page) by Dean/President/Director of the School/College; that also indicates the proposal has been reviewed and meets with the research standards of the institution.

Applications will receive a confirmation receipt by e-mail from the AOF within 3 business days of submission.  If a confirmation is not received, the applicant is advised to contact the AOF office to ensure the application is on file.

Applications will be reviewed by an ad-hoc committee established by the AAOF.

Award Notes

Prior to the submission window opening award are subject to change by the AAOF and/or the award sponsor. The notice of the availability of a award will be sent by email to institution contacts. Applicants are reminded to please review all guideline information before submitting their application to ensure it meets all criteria.

The award recipient and an institution representative will be invited to attend Academy 2017 Chicago; where the primary Principal Investigator and a host institution representative will receive recognition on Saturday, October 14, at the AAOF Celebration Luncheon.

Any publication produced must acknowledge the American Academy of Optometry Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Vision.

All award recipients by application and acceptance of an award agree to allow the AAOF and/or the sponsor of the award to which they applied to publish their name, image, institution information, and any statement or quote provided by the recipient and/or institution. These may appear in a variety of media formats that will announce and promote the award including, but not limited to, the AAOF and/or sponsor annual report, website, Academy/AAOF newsletters, social media, and annual meeting promotional materials.

For additional information about this award and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation, contact the Foundation at or 321-319-4870.

Past Recipients:

Johnson & Johnson Vision has partnered with the American Academy of Optometry Foundation for over 20 years, providing support for scholarships, residency awards, fellowships, and research grants and is the only member of the AAOF’s Visionary Circle for recognition of gifts over 1 million dollars. 


Elena Z. Biffi, OD, PhD, FAAO
New England College of Optometry
Effectiveness of a Novel Smartphone App for Diagnostic Interpretation of OCT Data

Jason Ng, OD, PhD, FAAO
Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Development of an interactive learning module to improve learning of signal detection theory

Jingyun Wang, PhD
Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Can Prompt Feedback Provided to Students Using “Poll Everywhere” Improve the Effectiveness of Optometric Education?


Nadine M. Furtado, OD, MSc, FAAO
University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science
Project: Evaluation of Cultural Competency in Optometric Education

Brian K. Foutch, OD, PhD, FAAO
University of the Incarnate Word, Rosenberg School of Optometry
Project: Student Attitudes and Academic Performance during the Transition from Paper-Pencil to Electronic Examinations


James Kundart, OD, MEd, FAAO
Pacific University College of Optometry
Project: Using the RAPID Method and Google Hangout for Small Classes in Optometric Education

Richard C. Trevino, OD, FAAO
University of the Incarnate Word, Rosenberg School of Optometry
Project: The effectiveness of an Educational Game in Teaching Optometry Students Basic and Applied Science

Matt S. Valdes, OD, FAAO
University of the Incarnate Word, Rosenberg School of Optometry
Project: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Application Software in Low Vision Education


Kathryn Richdale, OD, PhD, FAAO
SUNY College of Optometry
Project: Optimizing Course Management Sites through the Integration of Dynamic Learning Resources

Lawrence R. Stark, OD, PhD, FAAO
Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Project: Course Evaluation: Using Behavioral Objectives and Test Results to Improve Future Teaching and Learning

Daniel Arnett Taylor, OD, MS, FAAO
Southern College of Optometry
Project: Development of Online Curriculum in Genetics


Efrain Castellanos, OD, MS
Western University College of Optometry
Project: The Use of Online Resources to Improve Significant Learning

Lisa W. Christian, OD, FAAO and Sarah MacIver, OD, FAAO
University of Waterloo, School of Optometry & Vision Science
Project: Evaluation of Interprofessional Collaboration and Education in Optometry

Len V. Hua, PhD, OD, FAAO
Pacific University College of Optometry
Project: Integration of Hybrid Learning in Pharmacology

Kierstyn Ann Napier-Dovorany, OD, FAAO and Jasmine Yumori, OD, FAAO
Western University College of Optometry
Project: Evaluating the Effectiveness of iPads as Learning Tool in a Small Group Learning Context

Shilpa J. Register, OD, MS, PhD, FAAO
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science
Project: Interprofessional Education and Teamwork across Disciplines

Faheemah Saeed, OD, FAAO
Illinois College of Optometry
Project: Student Engagement in Geometric Optics