The Academy is proud to honor Bradley C. Black, MD, with the 2018 Outstanding Advocate Award.
The award recognizes Dr. Black for his long pattern of advocacy for patients and the profession above and beyond the call of duty.
The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus (AAPOS) nominated Dr. Black, who developed collaborative relationships with groups who care for children’s vision, such as the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). His work helped AAPOS call upon school nurses to support vision screening programs and to oppose mandatory comprehensive eye exams for children and vision therapy legislation. Dr. Black used the school nurses’ model to reach out to Head Start, the March of Dimes, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and other organizations to collaborate and advocate for children’s health issues.
As president of the Louisiana Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (LAEPS), during the height of their scope-of-practice battles with optometry from 2013 to 2015, Dr. Black was in the thick of the fight. Although the battle was ultimately lost, the profession was well-represented as he provided testimony to the legislature and organized Louisiana ophthalmologists in the fight. Working with the Academy State Government Affairs team, Dr. Black was part of a large public relations campaign that educated the patients of Louisiana on the differences between ophthalmologists and optometrists and convinced them that optometric scope expansion wasn’t what they wanted or needed.
After the battle was over, Dr. Black gave numerous outstanding presentations at the Mid-Year Forum, the Annual Meeting and at AAPOS, which no doubt inspired many ophthalmologists into action to stop scope-of-practice expansion in their own states. Ophthalmologists from around the country, notably including residents who will be defending the profession in the future, were exposed to the battle, Dr. Black’s actions and his impassioned words on behalf of patients and the profession.
Dr. Black has also been a familiar face at the Louisiana Capitol, where he has testified many times. He has taken ophthalmology residents to visit his state capitol and attended regional legislative breakfasts and dinners to give PAC contributions to the legislators in attendance. During his LAEPS presidency, he spent long hours at the capitol during sessions, traveled the state numerous times to meet with legislators and tirelessly worked at an administrative level to restore the Louisiana State Eye Society.
Dr. Black’s advocacy efforts extend to children across the globe. His discussion with international government agencies highlighted the cost of childhood blindness and, therefore, he has been able to secure support for vision screening in many of the countries he visited. He has ensured that children across the world benefit from early detection of potentially blinding eye problems. In 2017, Dr. Black traveled to Tanzania to formalize a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship with the full endorsement of the local government.
Dr. Black practices pediatric ophthalmology at the Pediatric Eye Care Center in Baton Rouge, La. He went to medical school at Louisiana State University and completed his residency at Letterman Army Medical Center.