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Steve Chaplin
IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, April 19, 2012

Former IU optometry dean receives National Academies of Practice's top honor in field

Dr. Gerald Lowther led School of Optometry from 1998 to 2008

April 19, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Optometry emeritus professor and former dean Dr. Gerald E. Lowther has received the National Academies of Practice's James A. Boucher Award of Excellence for his "exemplary contributions to the profession of optometry and health care field" and for upholding the NAP's mission to advance science and the concept of interdisciplinary health care.

Lowther, Gerald

Dr. Gerald E. Lowther

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NAP is made up of up to 150 selected distinguished practitioners and scholars in each of the professions of dentistry, medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, podiatric medicine, psychology, social work and veterinary medicine. The central purpose of NAP is to advise public policy makers on health care issues using NAP's unique perspective -- that of expert practitioners and scholars joined in interdisciplinary dialogue.

Lowther served as dean of the IU School of Optometry from 1998 until 2008, a period when externally funded research increased from less than $500,000 to more than $5.5 million and the number of individuals supported by research grants rose from four to more than 20. In 2007 he saw ground broken on Third Street in Bloomington on what is now IU's $3 million Atwater Eye Care Center.

"The IU School of Optometry is very proud that a former faculty member and dean has received the prestigious Boucher Award," said Dr. Joseph A. Bonanno, dean of the school.

A 1967 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry, Lowther is credited with developing a computer-controlled videodisk for contact lens education and a computer program for contact lens calculations. A past member of the American Optometric Association's Council on Research and charter member and executive council member of the International Society for Contact Lens Research, he worked to start the first optometry program in Poland and was instrumental in setting up community clinics in Bloomington and Guanajuato, Mexico, and an optometry program at the Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok, Thailand. He has also served as the external academic advisor to the optometry program at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Lowther, who was inducted into the American Optometric Association's National Optometry Hall of Fame last year, received the Boucher Award from NAP Optometry Academy Chair Satya B. Verma. The award is named for James A. Boucher, the first president of the NAP Optometry Academy. A past president of American Academy of Optometry, the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and the International Society for Contact Lens Research, Lowther has also been elected as a Distinguished Scholar to the National Academy of Practice in Optometry, has received the Life Fellowship Award from the American Academy of Optometry and been a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Indiana Optometric Association.

For more information, contact Steve Chaplin, IU Communications, at 812-856-1896 or Tweeting Indiana University science news: @IndianaScience