Advocacy and Outreach Committee


Under the direction of the Board of Trustees, the Advocacy and Outreach Committee (AOC) develops and implements activities that influence research policy and funding decisions globally; increases members’ interest and ability to educate the public and policymakers about the importance of vision research; increases public awareness of ARVO and vision research; and establishes ARVO as a trusted source of information. In addition, the AOC assists ARVO in responding to scientific content of policy discussions relating to research guidelines worldwide. The Committee consists of a mix of MDs and PhDs and should also have strong international representation, including at least two Members-in-Training.


  • Works with ARVO staff to review and recommend policies impacting eye and vision research funding internationally.
  • Works with ARVO staff to respond to issues in science and vision-research related policy areas and science funding, where advice of experts is requested from legislative or regulatory offices in the U.S. and other countries.
  • Works with ARVO staff to develop initiatives and activities to support members’ capacity to educate and inform external audiences and advocate on behalf of vision research.
  • Works with ARVO staff on U.S. and international press and media activities related to science and vision research topics.
  • Reviews and selects Science Communication Training Fellowship participants
  • Reviews and selects honorees for Advocacy Awards—Achievements in Eye and Vision Advocacy Award and Emerging Advocate Award
  • Sponsors Annual Meeting workshops and reviews publications.
  • Provides a committee report to the Board of Trustees at its regular meetings.



The Committee as a whole meets during the ARVO Annual Meeting and conducts business via ARVOConnect, e-mail and, if needed, by conference call during the year. Sub-committees meet at least once during the year via conference call or more as projects dictate. 

How to Apply - application period opens December 2020
To be considered for membership on the Committee, please submit an online application consisting of an application statement, plus detail of past ARVO service and/or experience. It is recommended that individuals:

    • Invest time in their application
    • Make sure their member information is updated and accurate in ARVOConnect

Applications will be accepted from December 2020 through January 2021. The ARVO President-elect will make appointments in February/March for the term beginning in May 2021 (additional details will be announced at a later date).



Peter Koulen

Section: Retinal Cell Biology
University of North Texas Health Science Center
Fort Worth , Tex.
Term: 05/02/2019 - 05/06/2021


Stephanie Watson, MBBS, FRANZCO, PhD

Section: Cornea
Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney
Sydney , Australia
Term: 05/07/2020 - 05/06/2021


Van Lansingh, MD, PhD

Section: Clinical/Epidemiologic Research
Help See Me
Weston , Fl.
Term: 05/07/2020 - 04/27/2023


Nicole Putnam, PhD

Section: Visual Psychophysics and Physiological Optics
Midwestern University
Phoenix , Ariz.
Term: 05/03/2018 - 05/06/2021


Daisy Shu, BOptom (Hons), BSc.

Section: Lens
University of Sydney
Sydney , Australia
Term: 05/03/2018 - 05/06/2021


Edmund Tsui, MD

Section: Immunology & Microbiology
New York University School of Medicine
New York , N.Y.
Term: 05/03/2018 - 05/06/2021


Ruanne Vent-Schmidt, MSc, PhD
MSc, PhD

Clinical/Epidemiologic Research
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
New Westminster , Canada
Term: 05/07/2020 - 04/27/2023


Milam Brantley, MD, PhD

Section: Retina
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Brentwood , Tenn.
Term: 05/02/2019 - 05/05/2022


Ludwig Heindl, MD, PhD

Section: Anatomy & Pathology/Oncology
University of Cologne
Cologne , Germany
Term: 05/02/2019 - 05/05/2022


Elliott Sohn, MD

Section: Retina
University of Iowa
Iowa City , Iowa
Term: 05/02/2019 - 05/05/2022


Brian Vander Beek, MD, MPH, MSCE

Section: Retina
Scheie Eye Institute University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia , Pa.
Term: 05/02/2019 - 05/05/2022


Jovi Wong, MSc, DPhil

Section: Retina
University of British Columbia
Vancouver , Canada
Term: 05/02/2019 - 05/05/2022

Trustee Liaison

Andrew Taylor, PhD, FARVO

Boston University School of Medicine
Boston , Mass.
Term: 05/02/2019 - 05/30/2024

Ex Officio

Stephen C. Pflugfelder, MD, FARVO

Section: Cornea
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston , Tex.
Term: 05/07/2020 - 05/06/2021

Ex Officio

W. Daniel Stamer, PhD, FARVO

Section: Pharmacology/Physiology
Duke University
Durham , N.C.
Term: 05/07/2020 - 05/06/2021

Ex Officio

Justine R. Smith, FRANZCO, PhD, FARVO

Section: Immunology and Microbiology
Flinders University
Adelaide , South Australia
Term: 05/11/2017 - 05/05/2022

Ex Officio

Iris M. Rush, CAE

Executive Director

Staff Liaison

Erin Hering