Statement by Victoria M. Sheffield, President & CEO

I am retiring on 30 June 2020 after 30 years and one month as President & CEO of the International Eye Foundation (IEF) founded in 1961.

Actually, it has been 35 years as I first joined IEF from 1979-1983 living and working in Kenya for three years with follow-on assignments in the Middle East and Caribbean. After six and half rewarding years with Helen Keller International, I returned to IEF in 1990 where it has been an honor and a privilege to lead this organization and its sight-saving programs. My colleagues and friends in the US and around the world have given my life a rich texture and great value. I want to mention how much I have appreciated our wonderful collaborations with IAPB, WHO, ICO, NEI, the team at Integrative Sciences LLC, our tremendous field partners and grantees who do the heavy lifting of curing blindness every single day, IEF’s incredibly supportive Board of Directors, and IEF’s amazing staff who have changed from time to time over the years. And of course our foundation donors, especially the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, the Alcon Foundation, and the Lon V. Smith Foundation; the US Agency for International Development, and our generous individual donors who, without their support, our work would not be possible. And a special thank you to my husband Howard Pyle who, as Bette Midler’s song goes, has been the very supportive “wind beneath my wings”.

I will continue supporting IEF as a consultant technical advisor to USAID’s Child Blindness Program. Additionally, I will fulfill my roles as Vice President of IAPB through October 2021, as Vice Chair of the IPOSC Advisory Board, as a Board member of VISION2020/USA and other commitments to advocate for improved affordability and access to quality eye care around the world.

John Barrows, MPH, IEF’s Vice President for Programs, is stepping into my position. John joined IEF in the late 1980’s having been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi and staff of Save the Children/Malawi where he worked in the maternal child health space for many years with a focus on the control of vitamin A deficiency. John has led IEF’s flagship program SightReach Management® which has assisted 63 eye hospitals and clinics in 22 countries in the NGO, private and government sectors since the program was established in 1999. He also has led IEF’s onchocerciasis control programs and is a key advisor to USAID’s Child Blindness Program. I hope you will join me in congratulating John and give him your strong support as IEF moves forward with its mission to prevent blindness and restore sight in low resource countries.

My “business” email address will be vmsheffield@gmail.com as of 1 July 2020. Again, thank you all for your encouragement and support, it has been a great ride and thankfully, it is not over yet!


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