Salus University graduate named a 2024 Presidential Medal of Honor recipient

Salus University in Elkins Park announced that Jim Saviola, OD, FAAO ‘85, has been named a 2024 Presidential Medal of Honor recipient in recognition of his U.S. Public Health Service career.

Dr. Saviola and four other medal winners will be honored at the annual recognition reception at 12:30pm on Sunday, June 2, at PineCrest Country Club in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

“I was very grateful and humbled – to receive that kind of recognition is certainly much appreciated. I always just felt like I was doing my job,” said Dr. Saviola.

Bernard Lepri, OD ‘79, MS, MEd, nominated him for the award. In his nomination letter, Dr. Lepri commended Dr. Saviola for carrying the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) flag through many professional arenas and giving tribute to PCO’s excellent reputation for training progressive optometrists.

“Most noteworthy is that Dr. Saviola has done all this with humility. You never hear him brag about his accomplishments,” wrote Dr. Lepri, a 2019 Presidential Medal winner. “He has contributed greatly to the advancement of optometry in patient care, public health, medical device regulation, his community, and his fellow optometrists.”

The Public Health Service is a non-military uniformed service headed by the Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Saviola’s career has included 31 years at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).

Since retiring from the FDA in 2018, he has worked as a senior expert in regulatory and clinical affairs with the medical technology group at ZEISS, a German company with roots in the optical industry and now goes beyond medical technology.

Dr. Saviola’s previous accolades include the Carel C. Koch Memorial Medal Award in 2009 from the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and the Roger Kame Award from the American Optometric Association (AOA)/CL Cornea Section.

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Photo: Salus University