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Dr. Bina Patel named Humanitarian of the Year by VOSH International

November 17, 2016 Each year, VOSH International presents a series of awards to honor optometric leaders for their service to humanity. VOSH, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, is an organization that seeks to provide vision care to underserved populations through the services of optometrists who donate their time and expertise to help local communities worldwide. New England College of Optometry (NECO) Professor Bina Patel, OD, FAAO, Director of International Programs, was selected to receive the 2016 VOSH/ International Humanitarian of the Year Award.

VOSH explains that this award is presented “to honor an individual who has distinguished him or herself during the year by bringing eye care to underserved populations. The award recognizes a VOSH member who, during the year, has improved visual welfare through leadership, invention, public health, the development of sustainable eye care and the further understanding and correction of refractive error.” (source:

As Humanitarian of the Year, Dr. Patel was honored for her lifetime of service to humanity, including her work on VOSH medical missions and her contributions to international partnerships and programs for optometrists and students worldwide.  New England College of Optometry President Clifford Scott noted, “Having personally traveled with Bina to NECO-affiliated programs on three continents, I am awed by her depth of knowledge of optometry across the world and her international network of influential leaders in optometric education.  It was gratifying to see her recognized with VOSH International's highest award.”

Dr. Patel has worked tirelessly to bring eye care and improve the visual welfare of underserved populations globally, participating on yearly VOSH medical missions for over 15 years. On each trip she gives care to local communities and teaches and mentors student volunteers who often encounter situations not typically found in traditional clinical placements.  The incredible patient volume on a NECO VOSH trip often has a group seeing over 1,000 patients in a five day span.

Dr. Patel has been on the faculty at New England College of Optometry since 1989 and is currently a professor of optometry in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Disease and the director of the Center for the International Advancement of Optometry at the College.  She also serves as the faculty advisor for the College’s Advanced Standing International Program (ASIP) for internationally trained optometrists.  She has taught in international schools and colleges of optometry in Brazil, China, Colombia, and Germany and provided continuing education lectures in Mexico, Italy, and South Africa.  She was presented the award at the annual VOSH International meeting in Anaheim on November 13, 2016.

Learn more about VOSH and the Student VOSH chapter at NECO.  

About New England College of Optometry

New England College of Optometry is an independent graduate college of optometry that educates students for careers in eye care delivery, research and education. NECO was founded in 1894 as the Klein School of Optics, and is the oldest continuously operating school of optometry in the United States. NECO prepares the next generation of eye care providers, educators, leaders, and innovators through a rigorous curriculum and extensive clinical experiences.   Through a vast network of clinical affiliations, our students put patient care first, providing vision care to children, older adults, the homeless, and individuals with disabilities through our mobile eye clinic, satellite clinics in schools, homeless shelters, community health centers, and VA medical centers.

Media Contact: Ingrid Hoogendoorn, Director of Communications
phone: 617-587-5722