Larry Schwab (‘62 AB, ‘66 MD)

Larry Schwab was born in Arthurdale, W.Va., and graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and a medical degree in 1966.

He completed his internship at the Charity Hospital of Louisiana at New Orleans, Louisiana State University Service in 1967 before leaving for Vietnam. As a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, he first served as a general medical officer in a surgical hospital then spent six months with an artillery unit as a battalion surgeon. He was awarded two bronze stars: one for meritorious service and one for valor for heroism in ground combat operations as a non-combatant.

After completing his Army service as a medical officer at Sandia Base Army Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Schwab completed a basic science course in ophthalmology at the Harvard School of Medicine in 1969 then returned to WVU for a residency in ophthalmology.

In 1972, he began his work with International Eye Foundation (IEF), as a project ophthalmologist for the foundation’s blindness prevention project in Ethiopia. In 1975, he qualified as a diplomate for the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Schwab has spent more than 20 years with IEF, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention and cure of blindness worldwide, which is active in countries throughout Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. He and his family lived for 12 years in the developing African nations of Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe. He held more than 14 appointments with the IEF from 1972-1989 assisting governments with developing ophthalmic training courses and curricula, designing national blindness prevention strategies and developing rural outreach programs. In 1992, he was elected to the IEF Board of Directors and serves on the IEF Advisory Committee.

A highly regarded authority in the field, he is the author of Eye Care in Developing Nations 2nd ed., a book which serves as a text and reference for medical assistants, clinical officers, nurses, general physicians, students and teachers who provide eye care and work in blindness prevention treatments. In the book, Schwab emphasizes efficient and inexpensive methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention disorders. In addition, he has co-authored two other books, written numerous articles, and given many presentations on eye care.

His current appointments include: medical consultant, IEF; adjunct associate professor, Tulane University School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; clinical associate professor, Department of Community Medicine, WVU Health Sciences Center; and Consultant, Louis A. Johnson Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Clarksburg, W.Va. In addition, he is a member of numerous committees and professional organizations.

Among his many awards and honors are: Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honorary; Bausch and Lomb Science Award for Scholarship; Honor Award, IEF, San Salvador; Honor Award, IEF, Nairobi, Kenya; Distinguished Alumnus, WVU School of Medicine; EXCEL Foundation Sabbatical Professorship Award; and Service Recognition Award, National Committee for the Blind and Deaf of Guatemala in Guatemala City.