ARVO Announces Winners of New Advocacy Awards 
Inaugural awardees advance eye and vision research through advocacy


Rockville, Md.—The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) announced today the 2020 recipients of the inaugural Advocacy Awards. The recipient of the Achievements in Eye and Vision Advocacy Award is João M. Furtado, MD, PhD, of the Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo. The recipient of the Emerging Advocate Award is Jarrod C. Harman of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC).

The Achievements in Eye and Vision Advocacy Award recognizes ARVO members who have dedicated swaths of their impressive careers to advancing the eye and vision research enterprise through advocacy at every level.

In addition to his career as a clinician-scientist with a background in intraocular infectious diseases and population-based studies on prevalence and causes of visual impairment,  Furtado has prioritized advocacy activities from his native Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. This includes facilitation of the VISION 2020 National Plan upon invitation from the Ministry of Health of Mozambique as well as VISION 2020 strategic planning for Latin America, advancing the initiative’s goal to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. Additionally, Furtado serves as a medical advisor for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) for Latin America, often meeting with representatives to advocate for quality scientific data on blindness in Latin America, focusing on both the federal and societal impact of blindness. Furtado is also part of the Vision Loss Expert Group and currently serves as a technical advisor for the World Health Organization.

“I am flattered to be selected for the inaugural ARVO Achievements in Eye and Vision Advocacy Award,” says Furtado. “It is a recognition not only for me but also for my many contributors during this journey. This award is an incentive to keep advocating for better and inclusive eye health for all and I hope to engage and inspire many young scientists for the years to come.”

The Emerging Advocate Award recognizes ARVO members who have made efforts to integrate advocacy as part of their professional efforts early in their careers.

Jarrod C. Harman began engaging in advocacy during his term as vice- and interim president of the Student Government Association at LSUHSC, where he is currently pursuing his PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology, representing the institution in meetings with the Louisiana Board of Regents. His advocacy exposure grew during his participation in ARVO’s 2019 Science Communication Training Fellowship as Harman recognized his passion and acumen for this critical activity. As part of the Fellowship, Harman attended ARVO’s Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, meeting with his U.S. Representative Cedric L. Richmond and Senators John Neely Kennedy and Bill Cassidy to advocate for 2020 Fiscal Year funding for the National Eye Institute (NEI), using his own research to articulate the return-on-investment of federal funding. Harman’s commitment to enacting change is also evident through his blossoming partnership with the Louisiana Lion’s Eye Foundation to perform vision screenings for inner-city primary schools.

“Being named the first recipient of this award is a tremendous honor,” says Harman, adding, “I very much look forward to participating in future training opportunities, workshops and advocacy outreach events within the ARVO community…ARVO has elected to invest in advocacy and training opportunities for all interested members. I’ve learned first hand that, collectively, we can make a difference.”

For more information about the Achievements in Eye and Vision Advocacy Award and the Emerging Advocate Award, visit ARVO’s website.

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The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at 

Media contact:

Erin Hering