Lavelle Fund for the Blind Announces Louis D. Pizzarello, M.D., M.P.H., as New Board Chair and Dr. Sharon McLennon-Wier to the Board of Directors
The Lavelle Fund for the Blind has announced the appointment of Louis D. Pizzarello, M.D., M.P.H., as the next Board Chair and Dr. Sharon M. McLennon-Wier to its Board of Directors, effective October 27, 2021.
Louis D. Pizzarello, M.D., M.P.H., has been elected to serve as the next Board Chair, effective October 27, 2021. He succeeds Mr. Daniel Callahan, former Director, Children’s Vision Initiative at the Jewish Guild for the Blind and Downstate Director, New York State Commission for the Blind, who served in the position for more than 12 years and who will remain with the Fund as Board Secretary.
An internationally known expert in the field of blindness prevention, Dr. Pizzarello has worked in more than 50 countries over the past 45 years to establish blindness prevention programs, such as those providing primary eye care, sustainable ophthalmic services, and treatment of refractive errors and redressing widespread Vitamin A deficiency among populations. He has been in the forefront of international eye care, serving in such positions as Medical Director of Helen Keller International; Secretary General of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and Chair of its North America Region; and founding chair of VISION 2020/USA, collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the development of its global initiative to reduce avoidable blindness.
Dr. Pizzarello recently retired after more than four decades of ophthalmology practice in his hometown of Southampton, New York. He has served as President of the Medical Staff at Southampton Hospital and has in addition been a Board member at the hospital and at East End Hospice.
Vice President of the Lavelle Fund’s Board since 2018, Dr. Pizzarello holds the title of Professor of Health Management at the Mailman School of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and is also visiting lecturer at the E.S. Harkness Eye Institute at Columbia. He holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Virginia and a Master of Public Health from Harvard University.
“The Lavelle Fund for the Blind was very fortunate to have someone of Dan Callahan’s caliber leading the Board for the past 12 years,” said Susan Olivo, the Fund’s Executive Director and CEO. “He led the Board through a period of growth and maturity, and gave very generously of his time and expertise to both Board and Staff. We are now excited at the prospect of working with Dr. Pizzarello as the new Chair. He has been a very active Board member, supporting the work of Staff and serving as mentor and thought partner. We look forward to his leadership and to many more years of providing resources to benefit blind and visually impaired people throughout the world.”
Dr. Sharon M. McLennon-Wier has been elected to the Board of Directors, effective October 27, 2021. A noted executive in the field of disabilities with more than twenty-five years of experience in academia, nonprofit management, and disability advocacy, Dr. McLennon-Wier is the recently named Executive Director of The Center for Independence of the Disabled (CIDNY), a leading advocate for people with disabilities in New York City, founded in 1978 to ensure full integration, independence, and equal opportunity for all people with disabilities.
Previously the Director of Disability Services at Berkeley College in White Plains, New York, and District Manager of the Harlem Office of the New York State Commission for the Blind, Dr. McLennon-Wier, who is totally blind, earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Seton Hall University; an MSEd. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Hunter College; and a B.S. in Biology from Syracuse University. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and Adjunct Professor at Berkeley College.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. McLennon-Wier to the Board of the Lavelle Fund,” said Susan Olivo, the Fund’s Executive Director and CEO. “Dr. McLennon-Wier has an impressive knowledge of and a passion for working in the disability field. Her contributions will help us enhance the use of our resources as we seek to ensure inclusion and access for people who are blind or visually impaired both here and abroad.”
The Lavelle Fund for the Blind supports programs that help people who are blind and visually impaired lead independent, productive lives, together with eye care programs working to prevent and treat vision loss globally.