About the Award
In honor of World Sight Day, SEE launched an annual Humanitarian of the Year Award, to recognize the outstanding dedication and achievement of volunteer ophthalmologists committed to ending avoidable blindness. The award will be given out annually to two SEE International ophthalmologists – one that is US based and another living internationally.
This year, SEE is proud to honor Daniel C. Alter, M.D. and Preeti J. Shah, M.D. who have done so much to help our organization in its campaign to end avoidable blindness worldwide.
Daniel C. Alter, M.D.
Dan Alter has traveled to Haiti an astounding total of twelve times over the past two years. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and has been devastated by natural disasters over the past decade. The country’s public health care system has suffered as a result, and access to basic vision care is extremely limited. Yet Haiti also has the highest prevalence of blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean. For these reasons, the Haitian people desperately need humanitarian volunteers like Dr. Alter.
“I’m honored to be chosen to represent all the SEE volunteers and sponsors who share the same vision of eradicating preventable blindness in the world,” he says. “Having read about many others that have done similar work throughout the world for many years, I am humbled and inspired, and in turn hope to inspire future volunteers.”
Preeti J. Shah, M.D.
Dr. Preeti Shah has volunteered with SEE for 17 years. During this time, she has traveled all over the world, from her native India, to Fiji, Mongolia, Peru, and many more places.
Dr. Shah credits her family for imbuing in her values of service, compassion, and humanity. “I am immensely indebted to my parents, and attribute it solely to their noble upbringing,” she says.
Preeti particularly loves volunteering with her husband, Dr. Janak Shah, “who has been my inspiration and guide.” Both Shahs are incredible surgeons, and have been on more than 150 SEE expeditions – a record for the organization!
Asked why she has gone on so many volunteer expeditions, her answer is simple: “A smile on a patients face, tears of joy, and reunion with loved ones is so priceless that it transcends any material pleasure.”
Preeti looks forward to going on many more sight-restoring programs with SEE. “Every single mission is special to me, as it is filled with fond memories and blessings of people worldwide,” she reflects.