Interview with Optometrist Dr. Shipp; President of APHA

By: Jennifer Hue; SUNY Optometry 2013

Many optometrists are recognized for their roles in furthering our profession and health care in general, but few have also made an impact outside the sphere of optometry.  One such remarkable example is Dr. Melvin Shipp, O.D., Ph.D., current Dean of Ohio State University College of Optometry, and the first-ever optometrist to be elected president of the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Shipp graduated from Indiana University School of Optometry, went on to obtain a Master of Public Health at HarvardUniversity and a subsequent Doctorate of Public Health at University of Michigan.  Dr. Shipp’sextensive work experience in public health include positions at the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Resources andServices Administration and the National Eye Institute, where he served on the NEI National Advisory Eye Council.  In the early 1990’s, he was a member of the committee for National Eye Health Education Project (NEHEP), a national program that worked towards preventing blindness through public education.  Upon joining APHA over 25 years ago, Dr. Shipp served on a host of different committees including Treasurer and Founding Chair of the APHA Education Committee before being elected to presidency last year.

Dr. Shipp’s passion for public health resonates in every endeavour of his career.  From his decision to become an optometrist to his doctoral thesis on the correlation between blindness and mortality rates to his current appointment to head of APHA, Dr. Shipp has always strived to make far-reaching impact on health.

This interview delves into optometry’s role in public health, and how we can expand it moving forward.

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