Greatness walks among the halls of Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC) and its outlying clinics every day.
For three consecutive years, a WAMC optometrist has earned the Armed Forces Optometric Society (AFOS), Army Optometrist of the Year award. The 2015 awardee, Maj. Grace Dumayas, Robinson Optometry Clinic chief, was recognized for significant contributions to the advancement of AFOS and Optometry.
During her tenure as a WAMC resident, Dumayas was also recognized for the 2014 Gus Forkiotis Award from the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. The award acknowledges individuals for important contributions to the area of neuro-optometric rehabilitation.
Dumayas credits the experience she gained to her four humanitarian mission deployments.
“One of the things that I implemented with the humanitarian missions was the educational piece. You could continue to supply the people with glasses, but that only lasts for a short amount of time,” said Dumayas. “The glasses break and they are done, but if you train and empower the population with knowledge on how to protect their eyes from different diseases, they will be better for it. That was just one of my contributions during my missions.”
Previous AFOS Optometrist of the Year recipients were Lt. Col. Jose Capo-Aponte, WAMC Department of Optometry chief, in 2013 and Maj. Youykham Chanthavilay, WAMC Optometry Residency program director, in 2014.
Capo-Aponte oversees clinical operations at WAMC facilitates outpatient and inpatient eye care of Wounded Warriors, Soldier’s readiness and Special Operations exams; totaling care to over 180,000 eligible beneficiaries at the Army’s largest military optometric operation within the Department of Defense (DoD).
He also functions as Residency Program Director, responsible for the establishment of the first Vision Rehabilitation (Neuro-Optometric) Residency Program within the DoD.
“I am proud of my team. Part of the reason why we have success in the Department of Optometry is that I give my optometrist team challenges every day and they put in the work to surpass those challenges,” said Capo-Aponte.
Chanthavilay added, “It’s doing a lot more than just coming to work and seeing patients. These awards recognize things you have done over time. I have a great staff working for me and I work for them. I love taking care of patients.”
Capt. Jasmin Filpo, WAMC Vision Rehabilitation chief, received the 2014 AFOS Junior Optometrist of the Year award while serving as a resident at Womack. She earned her Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry within her first 14 months serving in the Army.
“It was an incredible honor to be recognized among my peers for something like that. It’s a good motivator for me and it fires me up to keep working hard,” said Filpo. “I love optometry and the detective work involved. It is rewarding to see how you can significantly change someone’s daily life without having to pick up a surgical instrument. I like being able to give that one-on-one patient care.”
As the only Department of Optometry within the DoD, Womack Optometry’s mission is to: deliver leading-edge, comprehensive, and compassionate quality eye health care, maximize the vision readiness of our force and provide exceptional education and training opportunities.