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Lifetime Honor - Optometrist Receives Teaching Award
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Dr. A. Lee Scaief smiles with his Mert Flom teaching award, recently bestowed as a testament to Scaief’s teaching skills. The Mert Flom award is a highly coveted award in the field of optometry. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader
Of all the accolades framed with pride on Dr. A. Lee Scaief’s wall, the Oakdale optometrist, is most proud of the Merton Flom — the Big Kahuna of awards in his field.
Each year, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its graduation from the University of California School of Optometry, members of that class are asked to select an optometric educator whose teaching had the most impact on their optometric career. This teaching award is named after a renowned UC Berkeley professor and educator, Dr. Merton Flom, O.D., Ph.D.
The class of 1985 selected Dr. Scaief as the 2010-2011 recipient of the Merton Flom award.
Dr. Scaief, a UC clinical professor and optometrist, is a 1970 graduate from the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry (UCBSO). Since 1971, he has driven once a week from Oakdale to UC Berkeley to teach in the Optometry and Visual Science Department.
“With over 40 years of doing all that driving, you don’t add up how much gas money I’ve spent,” Scaief joked with his signature dry wit, adding, “I probably should’ve gotten a Prius, instead of driving in my Oakdale truck.”
All jokes aside, Dr. Scaief admitted to being surprised and elated by the honor.
“I did not expect it,” he said. “I enjoy teaching. People did that for me and giving back is important.”
As a result of Dr. Scaief’s teaching efforts, he has been honored by six graduating classes as Faculty Graduation Speaker. He was very influential in the educational process of the class of 1985 by teaching in the areas of eye exam procedures, specialty contact lenses, ocular disease, and eye care economics.
Dr. Scaief was touched by the award and the fact that his positive influence left a lasting impression on his students. He was also thankful to his family for their support, enabling him to make the commitment to teach as well as have a career.
“Your family puts up with a lot when you go away one day a week. I couldn’t have done it without their support,” he said.
Dr. Scaief was presented the award at the alumni reunion meeting.