Our Board of Directors is made up of the same hardworking people that are volunteering each year in El Salvador. No one is paid, regardless of status or position within the organization
Karen made her first trip to El Salvador with Eye Care International in 2005 after having a conversation with volunteer and previous coordinator, Esther Burton. She joined the Board of Directors in 2015. She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Health Administration program at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida. Prior to teaching, Karen spent over 20 years working in healthcare at organizations such as the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and The Ohio State University Medical Center.
John was first invited in 2013 by fellow member, Jennifer McNamara. After learning of Eye Care International, he has volunteered annually and become more involved with the planning process and board. John is an optometrist who has a private practice in Ohio. He first became involved with the amazing people of El Salvador through an immersion trip with St. Joseph's Church (Strongsville, OH) and their sister parish partnership in 2008. John looks forward to the opportunity of providing sustainable eye care to the people of El Salvador.
Sue started with Eye Care International in 2010 after volunteering with friends on prep for an upcoming mission. That year and each year since, she has been a part of the surgical team as a circulating and sterilization nurse. Sue is a clinical informaticist with Bon Secours Mercy Health in Ohio. Eager to serve where needed, she has also dispensed reading glasses, pre-screened patients in rural villages, assessed near and distance acuity, and is the current Secretary to the Board of Directors.
John has been a volunteer with Eye Care International since 2008 and has been the treasurer of Eye Care International since 2010. In recent years he has worked in the section that dispenses prescription eyeglasses. For 28 years John served as an economic officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, including assignments in Colombia, Brazil, Europe, and Africa. He has enjoyed working with the other volunteers and getting to know the people and places of El Salvador.
Tad first participated on an Eye Care International mission in 2010 and in 2014 assumed the position of Program Coordinator for Eye Care International. He is a retired real estate finance professional. His experiences include working for a title insurance company, banks and mortgage companies, and co-ownership of a mortgage company. Tad’s last position was senior managing director of a large national residential real estate finance company where he originated, structured and managed the capitalization of large homebuilding projects and ventures.
Bob became involved with Eye Care International in 2000. He became friends with Dr. Lyn Yakubov, who had been to El Salvador several times and invited him on a mission trip. Bob went that first time and has been going ever since. He currently practices ophthalmology in Warren, Ohio at Brodell Medical and thinks his involvement with Eye Care International has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.
Bert’s first mission trip was with Eye Care International in 2010 and he has participatedevery year since then. He has worked in ey care mission settings in Mexico, Haiti, and Honduras, and has helped to teach the Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery techniques that are commonly used in developing nations. His wife, Yvette, and four children, have each participated in at least one mission trip with him. He graduated from Yale University Medical School and practices ophthalmology in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Utah.
Sherry has served as the surgery coordinator for several years after discovering Eye Care International in a UCC newsletter and realizing she could help others with her skillset. She is a retired surgical nurse. Sherry had been doing medical mission work in the Ukraine with the non-profit Sharing Americas Resources Abroad (SARA) which is a United Christ of Christ (UCC) supported organization.
Susan Barnish joined the Board of Directors in 2019 after serving as an in-country liaison helping to coordinate the mission after having volunteered as an interpreter for Eye Care International during pre-check week in previous years. She is currently the Programs Director at COAR Peace Mission in Ohio, a non-profit organization that manages a foster care home for children in El Salvador. Susan believes that Eye Care International can be a force for positive social change in El Salvador, in addition to providing vision-related services.
Gerry served as the Director of Elections in Portage County, Ohio for 30 years, including a term as President of the Ohio Association of Election Officials. Her good friends Norman and Esther Burton were the first to invite her on a mission trip, when the original mission leader, Dr. Bill Brinker, was still leading trips. Now, more than 15 years later, that trip turned out to be just the starting point for one of the most rewarding events in Gerry’s life.
Jennifer McNamara has served on the Board of Directors for Eye Care International for nearly five years but she participated in two eyecare missions to Nicaragua and Ecuador when she was in optometry school and has been with Eye Care International for 11 years. She is a practicing optometrist at NOMS Eyecare in Ohio. When in El Salvador, Jennifer performs eye examinations and post-operative surgical care, as well as prescribing glasses and medications.
Bob has been on the board of directors since 2005 and has been working with Eye Care International since 2000. His experience stems from working with an ophthalmologist for 26 years before opening his own practice 10 years ago. Bob was certified as a Fellow in the Contact Lens Society of America and served on their board of directors. He was also certified with the NCLE and ABO.
Rena comes from a family dedicated to eyecare and wanted to continue to "give the gift of sight", especially for those less fortunate after retiring. She is volunteering in the Opthalmology Department at Mayo Cinic and has participated in numerous eyecare missions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. After joining the Eyecare International team on trips in 2019 – 2020, she has committed to focus on providing support in the efforts in El Salvador by coordinating eyeglass donations and providing optical teams to dispense eyewear on future trips.