There is no individual in the history of the profession of optometry that has had the impact on public health policy and optometry more than Dr. A. Norman Haffner. In many ways, the evolution of the profession of optometry has paralleled the leadership and the message that Dr. Haffner has provided all segments of the profession – from the student in the classroom to the leadership in organized optometry. He has brought the public health imperative to a fledgling profession at a time when it was defining its role in the health care landscape.
Dr. Haffner was the Chair of the American Academy of Optometry’s Section on Public Health and Environmental Optometry from its inception and for a period of twenty three years. In 2014, the American Academy of Optometry recognized his historical contribution by naming him the inaugural recipient of the Henry B. Peters Memorial Award in Public Health and Environmental Vision for his leadership and many years of exemplary contributions to public health. The Academy credited Dr. Haffner with “organizing the historic LaGuardia Conference in 1968 that launched optometry’s transition from vision care to eye care and the profession’s drive for pharmaceutical prescriptive authority and primary eye care recognition.”
Dr. Haffner was the founding President of the State University of New York College of Optometry which was established in 1971. For years, Dr. Haffner led the Optometric Center of New York as its Executive Director, lobbying the State of New York to recognize the growing need for optometrists in New York. Dr. Haffner was president of the Public Health Association of New York City receiving its coveted Haven Emerson Award; as the founding Chair of New York City’s Community Family Planning Council. He also was President of the prestigious Hermann Biggs Society.
Salus University now honors Dr. Haffner through the Haffner Legacy Fund. Contributions will support public health scholarships for talented and dedicated optometry students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program. Your support will serve as a fitting tribute to Dr. Haffner’s legacy in optometry and public health.