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2013 Outstanding Advocate Award

Michael W. Brennan, MD

Brennan2007__150x200Michael W. Brennan, MD was nominated by the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons to receive this year's Outstanding Advocate Award.

Over his many years of service at the state, national and international level, Dr. Brennan's name has become synonymous with advocacy leadership. Dr. Brennan has led the way to educate leaders of supra-national/national ophthalmic organizations about professionalism issues. Dr. Brennan has dedicated countless hours in convening meetings of society leaders at global events to discuss quality patient eye care and has offered his personal assistance as well as Academy resources to those in need of such support. At the 2011 World Ophthalmic Leaders Forum in Education, which takes place each year in conjunction with the Academy Annual Meeting, Dr. Brennan was the headline presenter on the topic, Global Optometry: Changing and Challenging, Non-Physician Providers - Lessons Learned Around the World. One of his many recent global visits was with leaders of the Ophthalmic Society of the West Indies (OSWI), where he joined Secretary for State Affairs, Daniel J. Briceland, MD, to meet the minister of health of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Over the last several years he has visited the ministers of health in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya to formulate physician leadership initiatives.

Dr. Brennan served as the Academy's secretary for state affairs from 1997 to 2003. During his tenure, Dr. Brennan was instrumental in implementing the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Leadership Development Program, which has since developed into a global effort with complementary programs within PAAO, SOE, AIOS, APAO, MEACO and RANZCO. The Academy Surgical Scope Fund evolved as a critical tool in the Surgery by Surgeons campaign under Dr. Brennan's leadership. Dr. Brennan championed state ophthalmology society executive directors and physician leaders in their legislative battles to pro-actively represent the profession of ophthalmology for patients and continues to provide wisdom and support to Academy secretariat for state affairs efforts.

Dr. Brennan is a past president of both the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He promoted adoption of a Leadership College within the North Carolina Medical Society modeled after the Academy's Leadership Development Program and saw its potential to fill a leadership gap in organized medicine. This model has been disseminated and adapted by many other national and state medical societies across the country.

Lastly, Dr. Brennan, as a retired Army officer, has been effective as a champion of our military, active duty and veterans, and our military and VA ophthalmology colleagues who deliver their eye care in often challenging environments.

A recollection from a colleague and former Academy Councilor from North Carolina notes that, "Dr. Brennan essentially singlehandedly, organized the response in North Carolina to the latest optometric attempt at incursion into the practice of medicine. He is and has always been a source of wisdom for dealing with the most controversial issues".

Dr. Brennan has generously given his time and energy to countless efforts and his years of service at all levels are a legacy that would be difficult to match. The Academy is privileged to honor Dr. Brennan with this year's Outstanding Advocate Award.