2020 Awards

Optometrist of the Year

Belinda R. Starkey, O.D.  Dr. Belinda Starkey is the recipient of the 2020 O.D. of the Year Award. “Dr. Starkey represented our profession during her term in an extraordinary fashion.  She served as our spokesperson and worked tirelessly in our efforts to pass advanced procedures legislation.  Her leadership was instrumental in the Association's successful passage of this law. Her leadership, resolve, and emotion toward the passing of HB1251 and the subsequent fight regarding Act 376 is evident of her deserving this prestigious award.” This award is given to the one O.D. who has made an outstanding accomplishment during the year.  It is generally awarded to a member who has a history of exceptional service to the Association.



Young Optometrist of the Year

Julie M. Dolven, O.D. Dr. Julie Dolven is the recipient of the 2020 Young Optometrist of the Year Award. “From successfully taking over the JC Beane golf tournament, to heading the mentor program, becoming a board member, travelling on her own dime to AOA meetings, Advocacy meetings, and meeting with US Congressmen and US Senators, she has proven her dedication. Dr. Dolven is passionate about our profession and the well-being of her patients.”  The Young Optometrist of the Year Award is given to a young O.D. who shows promise and interest in ArOA leadership by volunteering his service to committees and special projects and showing an exceptional zeal.





Myron Shofner Award

Creighton A. Simmons, O.D. Dr. Creighton Simmons is the recipient of the Myron Shofner Award.  This award denotes legislative excellence and is given to a mentor optometrist who has been an excellent example of professionalism and has been very active in the legal legislative arena with a long history of service to the ArOA The recipient is an optometrist who is serving or has served in the Arkansas legislature with distinction and has worked for the good of the people of Arkansas. “Dr. Creighton Simmons exemplifies what it means to be an advocate for the profession of optometry.  He has served as the State Legislative Committee chair for 10 years.  While serving in this position he has been available at a moment’s notice to professionally represent optometry at the Arkansas State Capitol.   He has been dedicated to promoting, protecting and advancing our profession throughout his optometric career.”




Paraoptometric of the Year Award

Bailey Woodson is the 2020 Paraoptometric of the Year.   “Bailey has shown dedication to her profession and a commitment to learning. This is proven by her passage of the CPO, CPOA, and CPOT certification exams within the first few years of working in optometry. She is an extremely hard worker who continually strives to improve and expand her skills. She volunteers for her community and church and promotes eye and vision health throughout her community.” 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 and has a personal endorsement from a member of the Arkansas Optometric Association. 


Special Service Awards

The 2020 special service award recipients are recognized for their contribution to the legislative effort in the 2019 state legislative session. “This team worked tirelessly to advance the profession of optometry in Arkansas in order to create greater access to quality eye and health care for our patients. This team devoted countless hours of both business and personal time devoted to the effort of passing HB1251. This group was on call and met weekly, if not nightly, for nearly a year. This committee went above and beyond the call to accomplish the goal set before it. Every person on this committee made an outstanding contribution to our profession, the people of Arkansas, the Association.” The special service award is given to a member of the Association who served the profession with excellence or a person who has made an outstanding contribution to our profession, the people of Arkansas, or the Association.  The 2020 special service award recipients are: Creighton Simmons, O.D.; Matthew Jones, O.D.; Belinda Starkey, O.D.; Chevron Ergle, O.D.; Susan DeBlack, O.D.; Bryan Armstrong, O.D.; and Joe Sugg, O.D.



 Click here for a list of award descriptions and past recipients.