2022 Award Recipients

Jessica Dinwiddie, O.D., Young OD of the Year

Dr. Dinwiddie is the 2022 Young Optometrist of the Year.  This award is given to a person who shows promise and interest in ArOA leadership by volunteering her service to committees and special projects and showing an exceptional zeal. Dr. Dinwiddie has been incredibly involved in the ArOA and her local community, and she has shown a commitment to further herself as a leader in Optometry. Dr. Dinwiddie is the practice owner of The Exclusive Eye in Rogers. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Central Arkansas and received her doctorate from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated from the ArOA leadership class in 2019 and from the American Optometric Association Leadership Institute in 2021. She is active in the Arkansas Optometric Association committee structure serving on membership, young advocates, and convention committees. She is the exhibitor chair on the convention committee, and she has been involved with the AOP-PAC silent auction in the past. She serves as an InfantSEE provider and served as the Arkansas liaison for InfantSEE. She was featured in a 2019 article in Women in Optometry and has appeared on local news media to provide public education about eye health and vision care. She started her own private practice in Rogers with an emphasis on creativity and exceptional patient care. Her community volunteer efforts include Project Zero, More to Give NWA, and Fellowship Fayetteville. She has also provided vision screenings to The Hill School students in Fayetteville. Jessica resides in Fayetteville with her husband, Chris, and their three boys, I'juan, Elijah, Matthias.

 

 

Amanda Coley, Paraoptometric of the Year

Amanda Coley is the 2022 Paraoptometric of the Year. This award is given to an outstanding paraoptometric who works for a member of the Arkansas Optometric Association and has shown service to Optometry and the association, community involvement.Amanda works with Dr. Melia Robertson in Russellville. Dr. Robertson states, “Amanda has dedicated herself to her job and the patients she serves. Amanda has consistently improved the clinic’s efficiency. She is driven, organized and highly efficient. Amanda is a team player and is always looking for ways to improve and offer great customer service.” Amanda volunteers in the optical department at the local Christian clinic providing care and materials to those in need.

 

 

Christina F. Vranich, O.D., Special Service Award

Dr. Christina Vranich received the 2022 Special Service Award. This award is given to a member of the Arkansas Optometric Association who served the profession with excellence. It is given to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to our profession, the people of Arkansas, the Association. Dr. Christina Vranich receives this award for her contribution of creating an excellent social media presence for the Arkansas Optometric Association. She has ignited our social media presence, worked to involve member offices with posts, and has created excellent interaction between member office pages and the Association page, as well as providing potential content for our member offices. Dr. Vranich is a graduate of Huntingdon College (2004) and received her doctoral degree from the Southern College of Optometry (2009).  Dr. Vranich is a past-President of the West Tennessee Optometric Physician Society and was previously honored as the 2014 Tennessee Young OD of the year. She has served on the advisory board for the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence at SCO and on the advisory group for the Eye Specialty Group in Memphis. In addition to her work with the ArOA to promote Optometry to the public, she is on clinic staff at the Southern College of Optometry in addition to practicing at Family Eye Care in Blytheville and Osceola.

Bryant Ashley, Jr., O.D., Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Bryant Ashley received the 2022 Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is given to a member of the Arkansas Optometric Association who has distinguished himself in the service to the profession over many years. Dr. Ashley has distinguished himself as a long-time advocate for the profession of optometry, serving as state legal legislative chair for many years, as past president of the Arkansas Optometric Association and is currently the president of the Arkansas State Board of Optometry. He has received many awards over the years, including the Special Service Award twice 1997 and 2005, Arkansas Optometric Association Optometrist of the Year in 2006, Distinguished Service Award 2008, the Myron Shofner Award of Excellence in 2010. Dr. Ashley graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 1980 and received his doctoral degree from the Southern College of Optometry in 1984.

 

Howard Flippin, O.D., Lifetime of Excellence Award

Dr. Howard Flippin received the 2022 Lifetime of Excellence Award. This award is given to an optometrist who has exemplified the highest ethical, professional, and caring character during his practice life and has shown a willingness to serve in numerous capacities. His career has been an example for all Arkansas Optometrists to follow and their life has been one that has had a positive influence upon their family, community, and peers. Dr. Flippin has dedicated his life to Optometry in Arkansas. He has been involved on multiple boards and organizations tied to Optometry. He is a trailblazer for Optometry in Arkansas and across the country. He is a past president of the Arkansas Optometric Association and member for over 60 years. He has served on countless committees and in countless capacities. He has previously been awarded the Optometrist of the Year, Distinguished Service Award, and the Myron Shofner Award of Excellence by the Arkansas Optometric Association. He was also awarded Optometrist of the Year by the Arkansas Paraoptometric Association. He is a past president and was a 25-year member of the Arkansas State Board of Optometry and served as Executive Director for over 20 years. He is a past president of the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, serving for over 40 years and is a Life Member. He was instrumental in the development of COPE and the OE Tracker platform. He is a past chairman of the Board of Trustees for Southern College of Optometry and is a past recipient of the SCO Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also a past-President of the Flying Optometrists of America. The Arkansas Optometric Association Thanks Dr. Flippin for his dedication to the profession of Optometry, the State Board of Optometry, our Optometrists, and the people of the state of Arkansas.

Robert Smalling, O.D., Lifetime of Excellence Award

Dr. Bob Smalling was received the 2022 Lifetime of Excellence Award. This award is given to an optometrist who has exemplified the highest ethical, professional, and caring character during his practice life and has shown a willingness to serve in numerous capacities. His career has been an example for all Arkansas Optometrists to follow and their life has been one that has had a positive influence upon their family, community, and peers. Dr. Smalling is a 1970 graduate from Arkansas State University and 1974 graduate of Southern College of Optometry. Dr. Robert Smalling is honored for his many years in practice and many years of service to the Arkansas Optometric Association. He has been a member of the Arkansas Optometric Association since 1970, Dr. Smalling has served in many roles, including president in 1986-87. He served on the Arkansas State Board of Optometry from 1989-2020, serving as secretary and as president. He was highly active in the Association of Regulatory Board of Optometry, serving on the executive committee, including president of ARBO 2005-2006. He served as the SECO International president, active in Southwest Council of Optometry (SWCO), Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), Accreditation Council of Optometric Education (ACOE) and many other national optometry organizations. He has received many awards, including the Arkansas Optometric Association Myron Shofner Award of Excellence in 2007, Arkansas Optometric Association Optometrist of the Year in 2001, Distinguished Service Award and Special Service Award, as well as Southern College of Optometry Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. The Arkansas Optometric Association thanks Dr. Smalling for his dedication to the profession of Optometry, the State Board of Optometry, our Optometrists, and the people of the state of Arkansas.