American Academy of Optometry Foundation is pleased to announce the 2021 AAOF Jill and George Mertz Fellowship Recipient

Published February 26, 2021

ORLANDO, FL (February 26, 2021) The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) is pleased to announce Justina Raouf Assaad, OD as the recipient of the 2021 AAOF Jill and George Mertz Fellowship.

Dr. Assaad is Primary Care optometry resident at the University of Houston College of Optometry. Her research goals are to establish a posterior segment imaging protocol for keratoconus (KCN) patients.

The fellowship award honors former American Academy of Optometry Foundation President George Mertz and his wife Jill. Both passed away too soon. Jill’s estate and George’s colleagues created a substantial fund to honor their commitment to the advancement of optometry and education through innovation, education, and research.

George once stated "The training of qualified educator(s)/researchers is critical to the bright future we all want for optometry.  Those who choose academic careers in optometry have less than half the lifetime earning power of those who enter most of the various modes of optometric practice.  The few who sacrifice personal gain for the good of the profession in this way are deserving of our gratitude and support.  While the AAOF has a distinguished record of support for post-graduate optometric education through Ezell Fellowships and other programs, there is still a need to do much more."

The fellowship is designed to help transition the best and brightest clinician-optometrists with exceptional potential into a career which includes research and academic optometry.                                                    

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Assaad on this impressive honor.