Dr. Shawn Sammons, who practices at Herman Eye Center in Hurricane, has been named the Young Optometrist of the Year for 2019 by the West Virginia Association of Optometric Physicians.
The award is given to an outstanding optometrist who has been in practice for less than 10 years and demonstrates outstanding leadership skills when serving their profession, their patients, and their community.
“Dr. Sammons is the definition of a ‘servant optometrist’ by serving his profession, his patients, his community, and his country,” Hannah Bryant, of WVAOP, said in a news release. “He is a steadfast advocate for his patients and the profession of optometry by continually communicating the need for access to quality eyecare for all citizens of West Virginia in every avenue possible.”
Sammons is the secretary/treasurer in the West Virginia Association of Optometric Physicians and was a trustee for three years prior to his current position. He serves his state and country in the West Virginia Air National Guard and has done so since 2016.
“He remains committed to the future of the Association and is never afraid to speak up for what he believes is right for his patients and the profession of optometry,” Bryant said.
He regularly participates in federal and state legislative meetings, serving as a Federal Keyperson for his senatorial district. Sammons attends AOA on Capitol Hill meetings to meet with his representation in Washington, D.C., when needed to advocate for the citizens of West Virginia. He has volunteered for countless state association meetings prior to being a formal volunteer for the WVAOP.
Additionally, he has served the Southern Council in the Young Professionals Program in 2018 during the New Orleans SECO meeting. He is the WVAOP membership committee chair and graduate of the first WVAOP leadership program, which emphasizes lifelong dedication to volunteerism for the people of West Virginia and their ocular, visual, and overall systemic health.
In his spare time, he serves his community as the team statistician for the Mingo Central High School football team, distributing weekly box-scores to 15 media partners, in addition to season and career statistics for individual players.
At Herman Eye Center in Hurricane, Sammons advocates daily for quality eyecare for all ages. He is a proud participant in the AOA’s InfantSee program, providing no-cost examinations to infants under the age of 1. He is a member of the WVAOP’s Diabetic Eye Care Collaborative, which is committed to open communication and referrals with primary care physicians and endocrinologists of shared patients with diabetes. Prior to his time with Herman Eye Center, he was integral in the establishment of the Diabetic Eye Institute at Wilson Eyecare Associates and served as the Clinical Director of the Institute. Their primary focus was on high-quality eyecare for all mutual patients with diabetes, with a specific emphasis on those patients with a high risk of vision loss as a result of their chronic disease.
Sammons serves his state and nation in the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing as an optometrist. As the only optometrist during the last fiscal year, he helped ensure that all 198 flying members of the unit were able to safely and effectively perform their mission. These members performed missions in numerous countries, providing humanitarian aid to those in need and providing acute air evacuation to injured service members in all branches of service around the globe. In 2017, he served alongside the Army at Bassett Army Community Hospital, Fort Wainwright, in Fairbanks, Alaska.
During optometry school, he was inducted into the Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society as an upperclassman who demonstrated an outstanding professional and ethical attitude through leadership and service to his class, university, patients, and profession. He served his underclassmen peers as an associate instructor in Clinical Education, helping to train those students in critical techniques and methodologies for primary eye care. He also volunteered with the IU Volunteer Optometric Services for Humanity (VOSH) for two years and participated in mission trips to Guanajuato, Mexico, helping to ensure quality eyecare and glasses, when needed, to approximately 3,000 underserved individuals during the visits.
Sammons accepted his award at the 2019 Annual Congress meeting in Charleston on Nov. 2. The WVAOP is comprised of optometrists from all 55 counties of West Virginia, with 180 members.