|Dr. Josiah Young awarded the 2016 Kentucky Young Optometrist of the Year|
Sy Young is an award winner. No, not that pitching award; Dr. Josiah Young, Fort Thomas resident, was recently awarded the 2016 Kentucky Young Optometrist of the Year award, from the Kentucky Optometric Association and presented by Dr. Karolyn Munson (KOA president) for an Optometrist who has been practicing less than seven years (although Dr. Josiah Young did play college baseball). This prestigious award is given annually for “exceptionally dedicated service to the professional of optometry and the advancement of vision care in Kentucky”, according to the plaque. KOA’s mission is to promote, advance, and insure the viability of the practice of optometry for the benefit of its members and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
You may remember Dr. Young from the viral video story about an infant named Piper wearing glasses for the first time (FTM article here).
As it turns out, this video helped get his name out there but it is his passion and advocacy on behalf of early eye exams that really helped him to win the award. He used the viral video to spread the message of the importance of early eye exams farther than he can when talking only to his own patients (thanks to the graciousness of Piper’s parents to allow him to do so). In addition to advocating for early eye exams, he has volunteered his time to do eye exams in rural areas of Kentucky for underserved persons as part of the Remote Area Medical team. Says Young of his volunteering experience, “the people you serve have very little but are very grateful when you are able to get them an eye exam and glasses in the same day; much like Piper, the reaction when someone can finally see the world is priceless. It brings me joy to help people see.”
This joyfulness with which he approaches his work got him recognition from his fellow Kentucky doctors; the award stems from nominations within the optometric community. Namely, Young was nominated by Dr. Sharon Schaffield for this award, the highest honor a young optometrist can receive (Young will be eligible for “Optometrist of the Year” beginning next year). To Young, though, the award is “the kind of thing that you take pride in”. He goes on to say, “Every day I go to work with the attitude that I want to make a difference in the lives of my patients(…) I love coming to work every day, and when you do that, it’s not work, it’s fun.”
That final quote, although stated by Young, was actually one he took heart in from a fellow optometrist he met when he was younger. Dr. Young’s parents are both nurses so he always had a passion for health science. He wasn’t sure exactly which field to go into until a friend of his introduced him to Doctors Kelly and Mike Raies, whom he shadowed in the optometry office. A senior doctor, Dr. Carson, was still in practice in his 70’s and he told Young when asked why he still worked that he “hasn’t worked a day in (his) life; (he) love(s) what (he) does and every day is fun for (him)”.
Dr. Young fell in love with the family practice and the practice of optometry. Additionally, he fell in love with the friend that introduced him to these special doctors. As Young said, “from that day forward, I knew I wanted to go into optometry; I thanked my friend for introducing me to (the doctors) and eventually I married her”.
Dinah Bevington of the KOA was also impressed with Young’s commitment to optometry. “Dr. Young has made tremendous impacts on the practice of optometry and the citizens of Kentucky in a relatively short period of time. The KOA is honored to recognize Dr. Young’s accomplishments, and know he will continue to be a leader in this field for many years to come.” Bevington also cited his commitment to the American Optometric Association’s InfantSEE program and his advocacy for early eye exams.
When asked if he had anything else to add, Dr. Young thanked KOA for the award and took the chance to educate the readers of FTM on the importance of optometrists for general healthy living: “If there's one thing that I want to impress upon those that do not know, it's that optometrists are primary eye care providers. It's not just about glasses and contacts. We take care of diabetics, treat pink eye, take emergency eye problems, treat glaucoma, and we diagnose all type of eye disorders from children to adults”.
Congratulations to Dr. Josiah Young and be sure to check out his practice in Newport (more information here) for all your vision care needs.