Douglas Horner, IU professor emeritus of optometry, receives Distinguished Service Award

  • Oct. 13, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Douglas G. Horner, associate professor emeritus in the Indiana University School of Optometry, has been awarded the 2016 Distinguished Service Award for IU Bloomington.

The award, first presented in 1986, recognizes faculty leadership and dedication within the university, a discipline and the community. Recipients are chosen by a faculty committee under the auspices of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs.

Horner, an IU Bloomington faculty member for 28 years, helped train hundreds of optometrists, including many who practice in Indiana and others who work across the U.S. and the world. He led and expanded an IU optometry service program in Guanajuato, Mexico, and helped establish optometry programs in Nepal, Thailand and Ghana.

"Dr. Horner has had a tremendous impact on eye care in the United States and elsewhere, including Mexico, Asia and Africa," said Eliza Pavalko, vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. "Through his research, teaching and service, he has been a true champion for advancing the mission of the School of Optometry and improving vision care worldwide."

In the area of research, he pursued an interdisciplinary approach, partnering with mathematicians, area studies specialists and other scholars on studies and projects to address vital issues of public health. His recent research includes a series of papers that applied the tools of vision science to the clinical practice of perimetry, a method to systematically test patients' visual field.

Horner grew up in Forest Grove, Oregon, and earned B.S. and O.D. degrees from Pacific University in Forest Grove. Drawn to research, he then earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in optometry from the University of Houston. He was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of California, Berkeley, before accepting a faculty position at Indiana University.

In 1992, as faculty advisor for IU Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity missions to Guanajuato, he worked with faculty to adjust teaching schedules to accommodate students who would spend a week in the Mexican community serving patients. Working with the Guanajuato community, he transformed the program from one-week annual visits to a full-fledged clinic serving 2,000 people.

Horner's 1999 visit and teaching in Kathmandu, Nepal, led to further collaboration and resulted in the development of an optometry program at Ramkhamhaeng in Thailand. More recently, he worked with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Cape Coast in Ghana to create a faculty development program for graduate students and junior faculty interested in vision science.

"Dr. Horner has consistently dedicated his efforts in research, teaching, service and engagement at the international level," wrote P. Sarita Soni, professor emerita of optometry and former IU vice provost for research, and William H. Swanson, professor of optometry. "He has communicated his passion for outreach to numerous students, residents and faculty at the School of Optometry, encouraging them to develop an understanding of international aspects of health care and compassion for those in need."

A reception to honor Horner and the 2016 Provost Professors, Wells Professor and Sonneborn Award recipient will take place Nov. 29 in Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall. The program, which also will include presentation of the annual Sonneborn Lecture, will be from 5 to 7 p.m.

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