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Stuart Richer, OD, PhD, FAAO; President

Dr. Richer earned his undergraduate degree in 1977 from the Rochester Institute of Technology, after which he completed a dual OD MS (physiological optics) program at the University of California at Berkeley in 1981. A one-year residency in low vision / hospital based optometry followed at the Kansas City, Missouri DVA Medical Center. He has been Chief of Optometry at DVA Medical Center, North Chicago, IL since 1983. In 1996 Dr. Richer earned his PhD in human physiology and biophysics from Chicago Medical School following 15 years of practice. He’s an associate professor of Family and Preventative Medicine at Chicago Medical School, adjunct  assistant professor of Ophthalmology at UIC / Eye and Ear Infirmary and associate professor of Clinical Optometry at ICO and UMSL. He is the principal investigator of the Veterans Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial (LAST), the first US randomized double masked placebo controlled clinical trial of lutein and visual function published in the Journal Optometry April 2004 and the Zeaxanthin and Visual Function Study (ZVF) in November 2011. Actively involved in primary care optometry, teaching and clinical research, Dr. Richer has special interests in aging, prescribing nutrients in the intervention of age related macular degeneration, low-tension glaucoma, cataracts and dry eye, as well as  rejuvenation of retinal tissue using epigenetics (Longevinex ®).


A. Paul Chous

A. Paul Chous, MA, OD, FAAO; Vice-President

Dr. Paul Chous was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes mellitus at age five. He completed his undergraduate education at Brown University and UC Irvine, and then received his Masters and Doctorate of Optometry degrees with highest honors from UC Berkeley. Paul has a private practice specializing in diabetes eye care and education in Tacoma, WA

Dr. Chous won the American Diabetes Association’s Distinguished Public Service Award in 1998. He is the author of Diabetic Eye Disease: Lessons From a Diabetic Eye Doctor, which was included in the “Top 12 Diabetes Books” by Diabetes Update magazine in 2004. He is an adjunct instructor at NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, FL.


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Jennifer Carver, OD, FONS; Treasurer

Dr. Jennifer Carver earned her undergraduate degree, a B.S. in Biology, from Truman State University in 1998. She graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry in 2002. Dr. Carver is presently pursuing an MBA with a concentration in project management. Major Carver is currently serving as the optometrist for the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah, Georgia where she has been a member of the Medical Group for over 7 years. She oversees the optometric medical readiness and visual management of over 1200 Air National Guard personnel.

With her passion in nutrition, Dr. Carver is completing a Baking Pastry Culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of Savannah. She has given several lectures regarding nutrition and ocular health. She supports her national, state and local optometric societies and serves on the Armed Forces Optometric Society executive council.


Dr. Summerton

Susan Summerton, OD, CNS, DACBN; Fellowship Committee Chair; Secretary

Dr. Susan Summerton earned her undergraduate degree B.S. in 1992 from Florida State University. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University, School of Optometry and completed an externship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in 1996. She practiced in St. Thomas Virgin Islands and currently has her practice in Naples, Florida.  She also is an adjunct professor teaching nutrition at Hodges University. Dr. Summerton is a certified nutrition specialist (CNS),a member of the American College of Nutrition and is a diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (DACBN). She is an active member of several organizations serving optometry and nutrition. She has a passion for integrative eye care and educating patients on nutrition and preventative eye care.


Elizabeth J. Johnson, Ph.D.

Elizabeth J. Johnson, Ph.D.;  Science Committee Chair

Elizabeth J. Johnson, Ph.D. obtained her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did her postdoctoral work at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University where she is currently a Scientist I. She is also an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. Her research interests are in nutrition and age-related visual and cognitive function. She has been involved in numerous clinical and epidemiologic studies and has collaborations with academia, industry and government agencies. Dr. Johnson has membership with the International Carotenoid Society, Carotenoid Research Interactive Group, American Society for Nutritional Sciences, Academic Society of Functional Foods and Bioactive Compounds, The Nutrition Society, and Macula & Nutrition Group. Dr. Johnson also has editorial roles at the British Journal of Nutrition, Food Reviews International and Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly.


Dennis Ruskin, OD

Dennis Ruskin, OD, FAAO

Dr. Ruskin graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1976 with a doctor of optometry degree, the same year he established his full service practice in Toronto, Ontario. In 1989, he became a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Ruskin has been appointed advisory member to committees within the provincial government, College of Optometrists, Ontario Association of Optometrists, Seneca College opticianry program, and ophthalmic corporations. As well, he has had clinical affiliation with the Vision Institute, served as examiner for the Canadian Examiners of Optometry, lectured to optometrists and the public, and performs clinical investigation for the pharmaceutical industry.


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Dr. John Nolan

Professor John Nolan is the Principal Investigator of the Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG, www.mprg.ie). His research group studies the role of eye nutrition for vision and prevention of blindness, and current studies are investigating the link between nutrition and brain health and function. He has presented at over 80 international scientific conferences and has published over 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers on his area of research (1731 = citations, H index = 25). He is the editor of a CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group book publication entitled “Carotenoids and Retinal Disease.” He also has editorial roles at the European Journal of Ophthalmology and the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Nolan is also Chair of the International Macular Carotenoids Conference, which is held at Downing College, Cambridge University, UK., see www.macularcarotenoids.org, and is also Chair of the ARVO Macula and Nutrition Group.


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Dorothy L. Hitchmoth OD, FAAO, ABO, ABCMO Diplomate

Dr. Hitchmoth is a nationally recognized award-winning professor, lecturer and and healthcare advocate. She has dedicated her lifework to promoting science and technology that supports the prevention of blindness and brain injury and that promotes overall improved health and quality of life. She is a well-known integrative specialist focusing on eye health.

Dr. Hitchmoth is a Chief of Optometry and Residency Director with the Department of Veterans Affiars. She is a professor of optometry and medicine. She is the owner of Dr. Dorothy L. Hitchmoth, PLLC and CEO of New England Telehealth. Dr. Hitchmoth has been a leader in the American Optometric Association and the ophthalmic industry for over 21 years. She is a VA residency trained, dual-board certified diplomate and a Fellow of both the American Academy of Optometryand the Optometric Retina Society. Her publication and research interest is in ocular biomarkers of neurodegenerative and systemic disease. Dr. Hitchmoth is also a nationally recognized expert in retinal Multi-Spectral imaging. She is also an ophthalmic industry consultant and serves on several corporate and philanthropic boards.


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Dr. Steven G Pratt M.D., F.A.C.S., A.B.I.H.M

Dr. Pratt is considered by many to be the father of the SuperFoods movement. He is the creator of the original SuperFoods grouping of powerhouse foods with scientifically validated health benefits and clinically proven, positive impacts on health promotion and disease prevention. These SuperFoods, initially 14, now expanded to 25—along with their related “sidekicks”—have become the basis of a body of groundbreaking medical and nutritional recommendations, and 5 powerful books on improving lifelong health.


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Lisa Renzi Hammond, Ph.D

Dr. Lisa Renzi Hammond earned her B.S., M.S. and doctorate degrees in psychology from the University of Georgia Neuroscience and Behavior Program. While at University of Georgia, Dr. Renzi specialized in neurological and visual development and studied ways in which implementing behavior changes influenced visual and cognitive function, as well as risk for acquired neurological diseases across the lifespan.

Dr. Renzi Hammond completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin while engaging in three disciplines: perceptual systems, neuroscience, and nutrition sciences. Dr. Renzi Hammond also served as a visiting scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, MA where she was a member of the Carotenoids in Health Laboratory.

Following her graduate and post-graduate training, Dr. Renzi returned to the University of Georgia and founded the Human Biofactors Laboratory, where she has completed clinical trials on the ways in which nutrition can impact various visual and cognitive functions and published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the topics of carotenoids and visual and neurological function and development. She has presented this research in a wide variety of national and international venues.