Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award | ASCRS
Awards and Grants

Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award

About the Award

Endowed by a generous gift from David and Victoria Chang, the ASCRS Foundation Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award was established in 2017 to honor and recognize outstanding humanitarian work in the field of cataract blindness and disability. The award is given annually to celebrate the charitable accomplishments of an individual or organization working in the United States or abroad. The recipient is recognized at the ASCRS Annual Meeting and a $100,000 prize is donated in their honor to a charitable ophthalmic organization of their choice. In 2020, the Foundation’s highest honor was renamed the Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award to recognize Alan S. Crandall, MD's exemplary life and commitment to humanitarian service.

Do you know someone who has made a significant contribution in global ophthalmology? If so, nominate them today! Note: Applicants who are not selected remain eligible to receive the award at a later date unless otherwise withdrawn.

Submit a Nomination

2024 Honoree Martin Spencer, MD

The ASCRS Foundation is proud to announce Martin Spencer, MD as the 2024 Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award Recipient.

Dr. Spencer has always placed a lot of emphasis on teaching in his volunteer work and has thought of it in terms of ripples in the ocean of blindness. “The ripples from teaching spread much further than any specific direct intervention.”

Dr. Spencer was “just dumbfounded” when finding out that he was selected as the recipient of the Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award. “I was not in a million years expecting this,” he said. “I didn’t know anyone was aware of my work with Seva. I’ve spoken at meetings, but they’re not usually huge audiences. I’m very honored and surprised.”

To read more about Dr. Spencer, click here.

2023 Honoree Helena Ndume, MD

The ASCRS Foundation is proud to announce Helena Ndume, MD, as the 2023 Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award Recipient.

“It is difficult for me to find the words to thank you [Dr. Chang] and the ASCRS Foundation for this extraordinary recognition. I might say that this is the realization of a dream, but truly, it is beyond that. This is an honor that I have not and could not have imagined in my wildest dreams. … I am receiving the honor with an overwhelming sense of joy, but in my heart, I know that this award belongs to all of those who have and continue to make the Namibian Blindness Prevention Project a success. I want to thank you and accept this honor on behalf of all those who have made our work possible.”  – Helena Ndume, MD

Learn more about Dr. Ndume here.


2022 Honoree Roger Ohanesian, MD

The ASCRS Foundation is proud to announce Roger Ohanesian, MD as the 2022 Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award Recipient. "The Armenian EyeCare Project has given me an enormous sense of purpose and good feeling and has been the honor of a lifetime. To be recognized and lauded by my own colleagues within ASCRS for my 30 years of devotion to this cause is very gratifying. I would be remiss if I did not include the many ophthalmologists who have joined me multiple times to bring advanced diagnostic and surgical techniques to our grateful colleagues in Armenia. I am in awe of what we have accomplished and immeasurably proud of how far this program has come." Dr. Ohanesian has earmarked the financial prize to the Armenian Eyecare Project.

  • Learn more about Dr. Ohanesian here.
  • Learn more about the Armenian EyeCare Project here.

2021 Co-Honorees Geoff Tabin, MD and Sanduk Ruit, MD 

The ASCRS Foundation is proud to announce Geoff Tabin, MD and Sanduk Ruit, MD as the 2021 Chang-Crandall Humanitarian co-awardees. “It gives us great joy to receive this incredible honor which is associated with two of our heroes, David Chang and the late Alan Crandall; legends of global medicine and among the most dedicated and kindest ophthalmologists we know. We stand on the shoulders of so many giants who’ve taught and inspired us and are excited to continue working with the ASCRS Foundation and its members to overcome the travesty of needless blindness in our world.” – Geoff Tabin, MD and Sanduk Ruit, MD

Tabin and Ruit have earmarked the financial prize to the Himalayan Cataract Project/ for their work in overcoming needless blindness in Nepal.

  • Learn more about Drs. Tabin and Ruit in EyeWorld 
  • Learn more about the Himalayan Cataract Project / here

2020 Honoree Lowell Gess, MD

Dr. Lowell A. Gess' lifelong work is truly inspirational. His career spans so many years and covers such a wide breadth of the world it can feel less like the story of one man's life and more like the story of modern ophthalmology itself. Dr. Gess has earmarked the $50,000 grant to the Lowell and Ruth Gess Eye Hospital to help expand facilities and provide a more complete eyecare program in Sierra Leone.

  • Watch the video interview with Dr. David Chang and Dr. Lowell Gess (at left) or watch the extended interview here.
  • Learn more about Dr. Gess in EyeWorld
  • Read Dr. Gess' bio
  • Watch a video by Drs Steven Yeh & Jessica Shantha about Dr. Gess' volunteer work during the Ebola outbreak. 

2019 Honoree Richard Litwin, MD

Like many doctors providing humanitarian care, Dr. Litwin's work followed a familiar arc, beginning with hands-on work, followed by a shift toward educating others and advocacy. He began with a high-volume cataract surgery mission trip in 1982. The trip would be the beginning of a four-decade long period of service. Dr. Litwin earmarked the grant to support The Seva Foundation, which works with local communities around the world to develop self-sustaining programs that preserve and restore sight.

2018 Honoree Alan Crandall, MD

Dr. Crandall began his humanitarian outreach work in Ghana following a request for help for a patient. Overtime, he was instrumental in the launch of the John A. Moran Eye Center's Global Outreach Program which has worked in over 20 countries. Dr. Crandall was known throughout the world for his commitment to humanitarian ophthalmology.  Douglas Koch, MD, ASCRS Foundation Board Member, said Dr. Crandall "dedicated his career to humanitarian service...and his loving generous spirit permeates all that he does, whether it be with patients, colleagues, students, friends or family."  

  • Watch Dr. David Chang's video interview with Dr. Alan Crandall (at left)
  • Learn more about Dr. Crandall's story in EyeWorld
  • 2018 Award Video
  • Read more about Dr. Crandall

Ophthalmologist Humanitarians
An ASCRS Foundation Spotlight Video Series

The ASCRS Foundation is pleased to highlight some of the accomplished humanitarians nominated for the Foundation's Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award. These outstanding leaders have been interviewed by the Foundation's 2020 Young Eye Surgeon International Service Grantees. Watch the first video in the series below or click the playlist icon to view additional content!

David F. Chang, MD

Dr. Chang embodies the characteristics of the winners of his namesake award—both incredibility generous and humbly dedicated to his work. A leading cataract surgeon practicing in California, Dr. Chang is a past ASCRS president and board member who chaired the ASCRS Foundation from 2015 to 2023. He has received the American Academy of Ophthalmology Humanitarian Service Award and the Aravind Venkataswamy Award. In 2017, he and his wife Victoria founded the Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award with the hope that highlighting the unsung charitable work being done around the world would inspire colleagues to themselves contribute toward humanitarian global eye care delivery.

Read more about Dr. Chang

Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award Nominating Committee

Adrienne Graves, PhD - Chair

David F. Chang, MD

Suzanne Gilbert, PhD

Richard Litwin, MD

Susan MacDonald, MD

James A. Mazzo

Lisa Park, MD

Stan Pletcher, MD

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