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Board of Directors

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M. Araba Otoo, OD, MPH

Founder & President 

Dr. Araba Otoo passionately advocates for the integration of Public Health within health professions like Optometry. Her dedication stems from a desire to address health disparities and ensure equity in eye care. Araba aims to enable early detection of eye diseases, reducing blindness and vision impairment worldwide.

 

Originally from Ghana, Araba pursued higher education in the United States, earning a Master of Public Health degree focused on epidemiology, biostatistics, and global health from the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health.

 

Her commitment to promoting vision and eye health is evident through various endeavors. In 2012, she served as a patient navigator at a glaucoma clinic in Chicago, engaging with underrepresented minority patients to overcome barriers hindering proper adherence to glaucoma therapy. Later, as a Douglas Passaro Global Horizons Scholarship recipient in 2016, Araba worked as a Global Impact Fellow for Unite for Sight in Ghana. Her contributions included aiding physicians in treating eye diseases and conducting a study shedding light on factors contributing to childhood blindness in Ghana.

 

Continuing her advocacy, Araba volunteered for the Illinois Society of Prevent Blindness in 2018, organizing eye disease-focused events, including a talk show catered to a Pan-African audience in Chicago.

 

In 2018, she furthered her education by pursuing a Doctor of Optometry degree at the Ohio State University while actively engaging in community service. Araba participated in educating communities about vision and eye health through various programs such as the Ohio Optometric Association Real Eyes Educational Program, the National Optometric Student Association, Remote Area Medical, and the Fellowship of Christian Optometry.

 

Her impactful contributions were recognized in 2020 when Dr. Otoo received the inaugural Rising Visionary Award from Prevent Blindness. Subsequently, she founded Cherish Eyesight and Vision, Inc., further solidifying her commitment to promoting eye health. Following her graduation, she completed her residency training in ocular disease at the Veterans Affairs Indiana Healthcare System in Fort Wayne.  Dr. Otoo continues to run CEV, practices optometry at Williams Eye Institute Indiana, serves as the section councilor of the American Public Health Association Vision Care section, and a regional trustee of the National Optometry Association.

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Erlein Tacastacas, OD

Vice President 

Dr. Erlein Tacastacas desires to help others see the value of their vision and care for their eyes. She values her eyesight because, without it, she couldn’t fully appreciate the warm glow of a sunset, the vibrant colors of the food she enjoys eating, and her favorite hobbies of drawing and painting. 

Dr. Tacastacas is an alumna of The Ohio State University College of Optometry, class of 2021, summa cum laude. She earned the Graduate of the Year award and Beta Sigma Kappa Silver Medal. After completing an ocular disease residency at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Salisbury, North Carolina, she continues to serve veterans in a community-based outpatient clinic in Chesapeake, Virginia that is affiliated with the Hampton, Virginia VAMC.

Dr. Tacastacas’ commitment to providing the best eye care is exemplified through her previous work with underserved populations at a federally qualified health center in Columbus, OH; on mission trips to a rural clinic in Jamaica; and on Remote Area Medical missions in Ohio. Dr. Tacastacas hopes to bring her passion for increasing access to eye care and raising awareness of the importance of vision as part of the Cherish Eyesight and Vision Inc. board.

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Joan Cmar, OD

Secretary

Dr. Joan Cmar is an optometrist at Texas Vision Clinic in Bastrop, TX who desires to serve people by helping them see the beautiful world that God has created for humanity to enjoy. She believes that prevention of vision impairment is a priority and to avoid occurrences, there is a need to educate and make the public aware of the causes, outcomes, and treatments of vision impairment and blindness. 

 

As a part of Cherish Eyesight and Vision, Inc., she can exercise her passion by creating content and organizing them in a manner that can easily be assimilated by the public and make them aware of preventable vision loss. 

 

Other than eye care, Joan enjoys baking, especially when she can share her creations with others. Spreading joy in little ways is how she thrives and how she wants to make an impact. She also loves spending time with friends and family by being able to connect with them and enjoying the company of others.

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Isaiah Boateng

CFO

Isaiah Boateng is a dedicated student and researcher at the Ohio State University. He is currently enrolled as an undergraduate student under the Ohio State college of medicine and majoring in Biomedical Science. Isaiah is interested in the intersection of business management/ finance and medicine and for this reason is pursuing a finance minor.

 

Among many things Isaiah is passionate about he is most dedicated to health education and preventative medicine. He has a personal appreciation and interest in preventative care in regards to vision and eye health which began with his grandmother’s glaucoma diagnosis. He very early learned about glaucoma and its degenerative nature especially when left untreated through his grandmother’s experience. It was at this time that he took a special interest in understanding eye health and was able to help his family understand his grandmother's diagnosis and management. The knowledge gap about eye care that existed in his family and community became evident and he hopes to contribute to health education and promotion starting with eye care so that no one has to be in jeopardy of losing their vision due to the lack of awareness.

 

He acknowledges that preventative education is of the utmost importance in preventing treatable eye diseases. And that it is most needed in underrepresented groups here and all over the world. He is actively pursuing a career as a physician so that he can continue to educate his community and improve health in marginalized populations.

 

Isaiah’s commitment to continuing to service and educate his community is best demonstrated by his research on health disparities at the Ohio State University comprehensive cancer center, as well as, his dedication and time spent volunteering with the children and families at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House and service as the community outreach director of a tutoring program that provides free services for at-risk youth. 

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Jaime Antonio, OD

Treasurer

Dr. Jaime Antonio is a Mission Corps optometrist serving with Mission of Sight alongside Professional Eye Care in Jamaica. As an advocate for patients and the optometric profession, he has a personal and professional interest in ending health care disparities and achieving equity in eye care.

Originally from Southern California, Dr. Antonio has excelled in uniting organizations around charitable causes through organizing international mission trips and vision screenings in the Los Angeles/Orange County metropolitan area. From 2015-2018, he worked with Illumination Foundation, Serve the People, Essilor Vision Foundation, iCare USA, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University, and Western University College of Optometry to establish comprehensive eye care clinics with cataract and pterygium referral services in Baja California, Mexico. From 2018-2020 he assisted in organizing vision screenings in the Columbus metropolitan area as well mission trips to Jamaica. His passion for reaching the underserved continues in Jamaica where he serves as Mission of Sight’s mission corps optometrist, welcoming all surgical and optometric mission teams at Professional Eye Care’s Rosehall location at Half Moon.

In 2020, he was awarded the Rick Cornett Scholarship in recognition of his leadership in advocacy and was recognized as the AOSA Trustee of the Year for his contributions in developing AOSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Project Team, programming and the, AOA/AOSA Opportunities in Optometry Grant. In 2021, colleagues recognized his dedication to leadership and service in the college, community, and profession by electing him as President of the Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society. He continues his advocacy serving on the AOA Federal Relations Committee, Membership Development Committee and participates in Capitol Hill advocacy days.

Dr. Antonio is an alumnus of The Ohio State University College of Optometry, Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, and has completed the California State University, Fullerton Pre-Health Professions Certificate Program. In his spare time, he likes to travel, play saxophone and ukulele, and spend time with his dog, Million.

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Mawada Osman, OD, MS

Board Member 

Mawada Osman, OD, FAAO, was born in Sudan and moved to the United States during high school. She witnessed the repercussions of limited access to healthcare resources within her community, especially when it came to vision care. She very early understood that without health equity and access to quality eye care, something as simple as cataracts could easily become the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

The detriment of inadequate health care resources fueled her desire to be an advocate and pursue a career in optometry. She earned her Bachelor of Science in biology in 2016 and attained her Doctor of Optometry along with a Master of Vision Science degree in 2020. Dr. Osman has a passion for serving underserved communities and that has become more so seeing those vision problems and their disparities persist among people in the United States. Her commitment to caring for underserved communities was recognized with the Community Outreach Clinical Excellence Award in 2020.  Dr. Osman furthered her training with a residency at the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the state of Michigan, Cherry Health Clinic.

Dr. Osman returned to her alma mater in the capacity of Assistant Professor of Clinical Practice with the added roles of Chief of Faith Mission Vision Clinic, another FQHC, and the Outreach Coordinator for The OSU College of Optometry.  Dr. Osman hopes to spread awareness and contribute to bridging the gap between public health and vision care. She looks to develop sustainable solutions to address disparities in vision care globally. 

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Grace Lartey, MD 

Board Member

Dr. Grace Lartey is a budding Psychiatrist, who is passionate about holistic health. Growing up in Ghana, she has first-hand experienced how devastating it could be to see people lose their eyesight among other health conditions due to lack of health education and access.  This was part of her drive towards medicine.

Dr. Lartey brings years of experience in public health as well as non-profit. Prior to medical school at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, she worked with a local non-profit to help educate people in the Ghanaian community about various conditions that disproportionately affect people of color. During medical school, she also led a team that partnered with members of the community to organize health screenings each year.  Dr. Lartey went into Psychiatry because of her passion for caring for people with diseases of the mind.

Besides community public health, global health is another passion of Dr. Lartey, and being a part of Cherish Eyesight allows her to combine both passions. She is looking forward to being a part of the life changing impact of Cherish Eyesight both locally and internationally.

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Advisory Board

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