Featured Alum: Dr. David Parker

Editors note: the text below was supplied by the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA).

Dr. Philip Marler of Carthage (right), immediate past president of MOA and chair of the awards committee, presents the Optometrist of the Year Award to Dr. David Parker.

Dr. David Parker of Olive Branch Named Optometrist of the Year by MOA

Dr. David L. Parker of Olive Branch Eyecare has been named the James Brownlee Optometrist of the Year by the Mississippi Optometric Association. MOA presents the award annually to recognize significant contributions to the profession of optometry and the general public. The winner was announced at the MOA’s Annual Fall Conference and Vision Exposition, held in November in Jackson. Dr. Parker will now be nominated for the American Optometric Association’s Optometrist of the Year award and the Southeastern Council of Optometrists’ Optometrist of the South award.

Dr. Parker graduated with honors from Southaven High School in 1987 and completed his undergraduate studies at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn. He graduated magna cum laude from the Southern College of Optometry of Memphis in 1995. While at SCO, he served as a teaching assistant, was a member of the Contact Lens Society and received the first year Outstanding Clinician Award from the faculty. Upon graduation, Dr. Parker founded Olive Branch Eyecare. He worked part-time and on weekends in underserved areas of Memphis for two years before devoting all of his time to the new practice, which now has a staff of four optometrists, two ophthalmologists and ten full-time technicians and opticians.

He has served the MOA as a board member, secretary, treasurer, vice president, president-elect, president, and past president. He remains active in the MOA and serves on several MOA committees including the Finance Committee. As president of MOA, Dr. Parker testified before the Senate Public Health Committee regarding scope expansion, which helped lead to program enhancement the following year. He was also president at the time board certification was being considered nationally and was one of the first Mississippi optometrists to take the American Board of Optometry examination. He was among the first 400 in the nation to pass the examination and be conveyed the distinction of Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry.

He currently chairs Optometry for Progress, the optometry political action committee for the state, and is the founding member and co-chair of the MOA Past-Presidents’ Council. He also is a member of the American Optometric Association and Northwest Mississippi Society of Optometrists and serves on the AOA’s Student and New Graduate Committee. Dr Parker represented Mississippi on the National Optometric 20/20 Summit and has served as a delegate to the AOA House of Delegates. He is a current member and past chairman of the Southern Eye Associates Advisory Board. He has served as an adjunct faculty instructor for the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Optometry and continues to serve as an adjunct faculty instructor for the Southern College of Optometry. To date, more than 22 student doctors have seen patients under his care and are now practicing in Mississippi and throughout the country.

Dr. Parker travels on behalf of advocacy to Washington, D.C. each year and serves as a key liaison on optometry-related issues to federal and state legislators.

Dr. Parker’s greatest passion has been mentoring students pursuing optometry, and he continues to host high school and college students who are considering optometry as a career. He and his staff provide vision screenings at multiple elementary schools each year, and he is also an InfantSEE provider. In addition, Dr. Parker supports frequent medical mission trips to Kenya and Sierra Leone.

Dr. Parker and his wife Ashleigh were married in 1993 and have four children: Allie, Jack, Luke and Jude. Dr. Parker enjoys coaching baseball and basketball and is an avid golfer. He and his family are members of Getwell Road United Methodist Church in Southaven.

The Mississippi Optometric Association, founded in 1947, represents more than 500 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians in more than 80 communities across the state. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. The mission of the profession of optometry is to fulfill the vision and eye care needs of the public through clinical care, research and education, all of which enhance the quality of life of patients.