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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Biosyntrx Humanitarian Award Winner

Sunday, December 03, 2017

“We’ve been given the gift of being able to restore sight. It’s important that we use our abilities to their fullest."    —Harry Brown, MD

Our dear friend and fellow Haiku poetry lover, Harry Brown, MD, FACS, was chosen to posthumously receive the 2018 Biosyntrx Thornton Humanitarian Award for his humanitarian spirit and relentless passion to restore sight to nearly a half million people around the world through the nonprofit organization SEE International, which he founded more than 40 years ago.


Our award will be presented to SEE in his honor at the annual Hawaiian Eye Foundation event at the Hawaiian Eye Meeting on January 15, 2018.

Harry Brown passed away on April 16, 2017. He was a passionate man of science with exceptional vision and compassion who dedicated much of his life to restoring sight to those who would otherwise be forced to live in darkness, only because they lacked resources or access to care.

Brown and his colleagues developed an efficient mobile eye surgery system of intensive, short-term surgical clinics for remote, medically underserved populations worldwide, in order to address their lack of access to trained clinical eye care.


For a lifetime of humanitarian achievement, Dr. Brown has received the International President's Award, Lions International; a tribute by the US House of Representatives; the Honor Award of American Academy of Ophthalmology: Lifetime Achievement Award, Santa Barbara News-Press; Community Service Award, George Washington University Alumni Association; Outstanding Humanitarian Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology; Hampton Roy Medal, World Eye Foundation; Leslie Dana Gold Medal Award, St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired; the Outstanding Achievements in the Prevention of Blindness and Services to those Who are Blind; and the Paul Harris Award, Rotary International.

In October 2014, Dr. Brown was honored with the American College of Surgeons / Pfizer Surgical Humanitarian and Volunteerism Award, given in recognition of those surgeons who have dedicated a substantial portion of their career to ensuring the provision of surgical care to underserved populations without expectation of reimbursement.

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and becomes immortal.  â€”Albert Pike

Harry, you were a generous class act who is sorely missed by everyone lucky enough to have worked with you over the years. The Haiku below is for you.


Pausing between clouds

the moon rests

in the eyes of its beholders ʉۥMatsuo Basho



Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess, the Biosyntrx staff and the Hawaiian Eye Foundation founders and boards. 


The previous humanitarian work-of-the-world winners of the Biosyntrx Thornton Humanitarian Award include:


Jeffery Rutgard, MD

Geoffrey Tabin, MD

Audrey Talley Rostov, MD