Alan S. Crandall, MD, was nominated by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery to receive this year's Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award.
For more than 18 years, Dr. Crandall has dedicated his skills, his time and his personal financial support to curing preventable blindness in the developing world. He has also identified and educated up-and-coming ophthalmic leaders in countries that lack adequate opportunities for advanced training.
Dr. Crandall's first eye care mission began almost 20 years ago in Ghana, when an acquaintance who was working there asked him to hold a surgical camp. Dr. Crandall used his copious skills as a surgeon to try and make a dent in the backlog of needless blindness. An enthusiastic teacher, he quickly realized that helping developing countries to create or expand their own ophthalmology residency program would be the key to long-term success. He began working with local authorities and medical professionals, bringing promising young ophthalmologists to the Moran Eye Center for advanced training, and providing equipment and supplies to their home hospitals. Dr. Crandall continued to expand the scope of his work. He formed strategic partnerships with other physicians, especially with Geoff Tabin, MD, throughout the United States and abroad to ensure quality training for as many young ophthalmologists as possible. He has conducted numerous outreach trips to Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, India and China.
Because of Dr. Crandall's boundless determination and energy, the Komfo Anokye Teach Hospital (KATH), in Kumasi, Ghana, was able to open its first eye hospital. He was one of the earliest and most consistent supporters of this project and through his tireless work is credited with elevating the level of care provided by KATH physicians and staff members.
Another example of Dr. Crandall's amazing passion for improving international eye care is the work that he has done in South Sudan. Dr. Crandall promised to spearhead a medical mission to Sudan after meeting John Dau, a former refugee who has dedicated his life to providing health care and fostering peace in his homeland. Sudan was then in the grips of a decades-long civil war. It took years of planning and luck before Dr. Crandall could make good on his promise, but in 2011 he brought one of the first ophthalmic teams to the country and operated a highly successful eye camp out of John Dau's clinic. Travel was difficult. The mission was dangerous and the operating conditions were physically and mentally challenging. Despite this, after seeing the positive end results, Dr. Crandall has returned numerous times.
When not traveling to remote areas of the world to help the blind see or to train surgeons, Dr. Crandall spends his "free time" courting potential donors to support his work. Nearly every moment of every day Dr. Crandall is devoted to helping others. He has never once asked for anything in return. Because of his tireless energy, skill, personal sacrifice and strong belief in humanitarian service, the Academy is privileged to honor Dr. Alan Crandall with this year's Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award.