Board of Directors

Stuart Richer

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 ®).

Julie Poteet

Julie Poteet, OD, MS, CNS, FONS; Vice-President

Dr Julie Poteet earned her undergraduate degree B.S. from the University of Georgia. She graduated from The New England College of Optometry, and she completed a VA residency with the Brockton and West Roxbury VA Medical Centers in Massachusetts. Upon completing her residency , she worked with one of Harvard's top ophthalmology professors in private practice in Peabody, Massachusetts. Dr. Poteet's passion for the past 12 years has been in using scientifically based targeted nutritional therapies to address underlying systemic imbalances and disease. She completed a Masters of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine with the University Of Western States. She is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and she is a member of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.
Dr. Poteet is in private practice and research with an emphasis on nutritional, environmental, and biochemical aspects of chronic health problems in children and adults. She has been focused on understanding and treating the underlying gastrointestinal and immune dysfunctions that are prevalent in children on the autism spectrum. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA.

Susan Summerton

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

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, Secretary

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.

dorothy hitchmoth

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.


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.


Kerry Gelb, O.D.

Kerry Gelb is a graduate of the SUNY College of Optometry. Upon graduation he received his Doctorate at the Illinois College of Optometry and garnered his Residency at the St. Albans Extended Care Center where he focused on the diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease. He also held a staff position as Assistant Clinical Professor at the SUNY College of Optometry.

Dr. Gelb is in private practice in New York and New Jersey, where he is a sub lease holder at five LensCrafters locations, and is also the current President and a Board Member of ALLDocs, the Association of Lenscrafters Leasholding Doctors. Kerry is also a member of the American Optometric Association and the New Jersey Optometric Society.

While active on the lecture circuit, Kerry speaks on topics ranging from the diagnosis and treatment of external eye disease, corneal refractive therapy, and clinical ophthalmic procedures, to contact lenses, nutrition related to ocular disease, diabetes, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. He is a Clinical Investigator for Abbott Medical Optics and for the Ciba Vision Contact Lens Ev4-04 Trial, and has been published in the Academy of Optometry and Optometry Times.

Dr. Gelb has also volunteered in the “OneSight” program, helping to restore and preserve vision for people in need internationally. He enjoys exercising, traveling, playing softball, and currently resides in Scotch Plains, New Jersey where he lives with his wife and children.


Dr. Steven Pratt

Steven G. Pratt MD, FACS, ABIHM is a clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego. He has had training in holistic medicine and has a degree with the American Board of Holistic Medicine. (ABIHM) He is the author of five Super Foods books, including two New York Times bestsellers, SuperFoodsRx and SuperFoods HealthStyle. He is responsible for all the science behind the SuperFoodsRx brand. Dr. Pratt is a world-renowned authority on the role of nutrition and lifestyle in preventing disease and optimizing health. He has appeared on major national media including Today, The View, Fox News and Oprah. Oprah has dubbed him as “The Food Dude.”

His books have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, O, Time, Newsweek, Men’s Health, Shape, Martha Stewart Living, the San Diego Union, the Westin Hotel ‘s worldwide, and other publications. Dr. Pratt has been a nutritional consultant to top athletes, and he is a senior staff member of Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California. He lectures around the world, and has been featured at world famous Health Spas, including Rancho La Puerta, Golden Door, and Cal A Vie.




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