Minority Fellowship Travel Grants


Each year the Diversity Initiatives Committee awards three minority fellowship travel grants. The ARVO SACNAS Eye and Vision Research Award is given to an individual with the best vision and ophthalmology-related abstract from the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science conference of that year. The ARVO Vision Research Minority Fellowship Award is awarded to an individual who has won a Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Award at that year's U.S. National Medical Association's annual convention (two awards given each year). The Rabb-Venable award is named in honor of Dr. Maurice Rabb, Jr., and Dr. H. Phillip Venable, two pioneering African American ophthalmologists and researchers. For more information about these grants, please contact award@arvo.org.

2024 ARVO Minority Fellowship Travel Grant recipients

2024 ARVO SACNAS Award recipient - Alexandra SerratoAlexandra Serrato | ARVO/SACNAS Award recipient 
Winning project: Thyroid hormone transporter MCT8 controls cone photoreceptor maturation in the mouse retina

Alexandra Serrato, a senior at Rice University majoring in biosciences with a minor in neuroscience on the pre-grad track, is passionately immersed in research. Her journey began with an exploration of the central endocrine system, a path that naturally led her to delve into the intricacies of the peripheral endocrine system. A transformative summer research experience at the National Institutes of Health served as her initiation into the captivating field of ophthalmology.

During this research experience, Alexandra delved into the field of thyroid hormone transporters, unraveling their important role in cone photoreceptor maturation. The complexities of retinal cells and the elaborate systems orchestrating their growth became focal points that heightened her intellectual curiosity. Looking ahead, Alexandra hopes to further unravel these research interests and continue exploring the field of ophthalmology during her upcoming gap year, prior to pursuing her graduate studies.

Vision Research Minority Fellowship Awardee - Oluwatoyosi Arogbokun

Oluwatoyosi Arogbokun | ARVO Vision Research Minority Fellowship Award recipient 
Winning project: Hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke associated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator in patients receiving adjuvant hyperbaric oxygen for the treatment of central retinal artery occlusion

Oluwatoyosi (Toyosi) Arogbokun is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Chicago where she studied comparative human development with a minor in neuroscience. After working in a child and cognitive development research lab in Chicago, she returned to her home state of Minnesota for medical school. Toyosi discovered ophthalmology during her second year of medical school through a joint event between the Ophthalmology Interest Group and the Student National Medical Association, on which she served as a board member. She is passionate about education and plans to continue pursuing research relating to both pediatric and neuro-ophthalmology. As the first in her family to become a physician, Toyosi hopes to practice in underserved communities and play an active role in mitigating health disparities for vulnerable populations. 

Vision Research Minority Fellowship Awardee - Tiffani SpauldingTiffani Spaulding, MPH | ARVO Vision Research Minority Fellowship Award recipient
Winning project: Ohio county-level visual impairment and blindness and measures of community disaster resilience

Tiffani Spaulding, a fourth-year medical student at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, holds an undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Drexel University with a minor in public health. Raised in New Jersey, her interest in medicine and health disparities began early, leading her to pursue a master's in public health with a focus on behavioral science and health education. Inspired by childhood experiences with family members' low vision care, Tiffani aspires to address vision health disparities through patient education, community engagement, and ophthalmic interventions. Her research encompasses glaucoma and retina pathologies, the impact of natural disasters on individuals with severe vision impairment, and the role of community health centers in enhancing vision care. Tiffani enjoys sharing her passion for medicine and eye health with family and friends and anticipates a future dedicated to patient advocacy as the first physician in her family. 

Recipients from prior years

2023 ARVO SACNAS | Sophia Ratvasky | Advancements in visual sciences: The role of macrophages in newt lens regeneration

2023 ARVO VRMF | Maylander Menard | Diversity among ophthalmology fellowship applicants

2023 ARVO VRMF | Elise V. Mike, MD | Disparities in discharge patterns in firearm-associated ocular trauma

2022 ARVO SACNAS | Jessy Martinez | Binocular visual experience followed by sleep optimally promotes visual cortex plasticity and reverses visual deficits in a mouse model of amblyopia

2022 ARVO VRMF | Johsias A. Maru | Barriers in ophthalmology residency applications for students identifying as underrepresented in medicine: A San Francisco match analysis

2022 ARVO VRMF | Anuoluwapo Sopeyin, MD | Racial and ethnic disparities in the prevalence of post-cataract surgery endophthalmitis

2021 ARVO SACNAS | Kyle Helms | The Tsh transcription factor and the transcriptional co-regulator Ctbp interact in srosophila melanogaster eye development

2021 ARVO VRMF |Modupe Adetunji | Laser selection and racial background impact rates of iritis and intraocular pressure elevation following laser peripheral iridotomy for anatomical narrow angles

2021 ARVO VRMF | Alexis Pascoe, MD | Telemedicine utilization by ophthalmologists during the COVID-19 pandemic

2020 ARVO SACNAS | Carla Ramos, PhD | Stimulation of retinal glia cells by palmitic acid

2020 ARVO VRMF | Amani Davis | Ocular rindings in patients with isolated sagittal synostosis

2020 ARVO VRMF | Matthew Tadrus, MD |Toric Intraocular lens implantation in patients with high astigmatism secondary to keratoconus, post penetrating keraoplasty or post refractive ectasia

2019 ARVO SACNAS | Jared Tangeman | Resetting the epigenome during retinal pigment epithelium reprogramming towards retina regeneration 

2019 ARVO VRMF | Dianne Barrett, MD | Retinal nerve fiber layer thickness in migraine and its correlation to duration and severity of disease

2019 ARVO VRMF | Davis Uzochukwu Anugo | A novel therapeutic approach for treating corneal alkaline burn injury by targeting Fidgetin-like 2, a microtubule regulator

2018 ARVO SACNAS | Lewis Marquez | Downregulation of Cytochrome C Oxidase following IOP elevation in rat model of glaucoma is attenuated by Αb-Crystallin Core Peptide (ABCP)

2018 ARVO VRMF | Joah F. Aliancy, MD | Long-term capsular clarity with a disc-shaped intraocular lens

2018 ARVO VRMF | Caryn Cobb | Micro-Cannula technique in periorbital rejuvenation

2017 ARVO SACNAS  |  Jesse Velasco  |  Characterizing the effects of SPHK1 knockout in the mouse neural retina

2017 ARVO VRMF  |  Deanna Lyttle, MD  |  Levodopa as a possible treatment of visual loss in nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION)

2017 ARVO VRMF  |  Akosua Nti, MD  |  Analysis of the African American and Hispanic sub-groups in the IIHTT treatment trial

2016 ARVO SACNAS  |  Stephanie Landeros  |  Effects of human retinal progenitor cells on glial and immune cell reactivity in the RCS rat

2016 ARVO VRMF  |  Ahmara Gibbons Ross, MD, PhD  |  The threshold of ultraviolet light energy to eliminate acanthamoeba

2016 ARVO VRMF  |  Ijeoma S. Chinwuba  |  Systemic associations of macular retinoschisis, hemorrhagic cysts, and retinal folds in children

2015 ARVO SACNAS  |  Sierra Warren  |  Improving underwater vision with amphibious contact lenses

2015 ARVO VRMF  |  Nikisha Q. Richards  |  Ophthalmic presentation of giant cell arteritis in African Americans

2015 ARVO VRMF  |  Alexis K. Warren  |  Bevacizumab (Avastinâ) as a treatment alternative for threshold retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)

2014 ARVO SACNAS  |  Daniel Foster  |  Using change blindness to study the effect of visual attention on neural activity in visual area v4

2014 ARVO VRMF  |  Alexandros Pappas  |  Success of intraocular pressure control in glaucoma patients undergoing canaloplasty with and without cataract extraction in a single center setting

2014 ARVO VRMF  |  Dianne Barrett  |  Identifying candidate proteases to degrade cochlin using biochemical and bioinformatic techniques

2013 ARVO SACNAS  |  Emily Sales  |  Retinal ganglion type specific axon targeting to the superior colliculus in EphrinA2/EphrinA5 knock-out mice

2013 ARVO VRMF  |  Ian A. Thompson  |  CFH and HTRAI risk alleles in Caucasian and African American ocular sarcoidosis patients

2013 ARVO VRMF  |  O’Rese J. Knight  |  Comparison of confocal corneal endothelial image analysis methods