Kurt B. Nolte, MD
Kurt B. Nolte, MD

Kurt B. Nolte, MD, chief medical investigator for the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI), will receive the Eye Bank Association of America’s 2017 Gift of Sight Award at its annual conference in June.

The Gift of Sight Award is presented to professionals who have demonstrated significant support of eye banking and corneal donation. Past recipients have included clergy, legislators, funeral service professionals and others.

Under Nolte’s leadership, OMI has shown unparalleled support for organ, eye and tissue donation, working closely with New Mexico Lions Eye Bank to ensure that donation is considered in even the most complicated situations. Approximately one-third of all cornea donations that take place in New Mexico each year are coordinated through OMI under the supervision of Nolte and his staff.

“This award recognizes the generosity of New Mexico families in donating corneas from their decreased family members to improve the vision of living individuals,” Nolte says, “combined with the efforts of OMI staff – especially, the forensic pathologists, investigators and technicians – in fostering the donation process.”

Nolte is the former director of the UNM Radiology-Pathology Center for Forensic Imaging and is engaged in radiologic imaging research projects sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. His academic interests include surveillance for infectious disease mortality, autopsy biosafety, the epidemiology and pathology of drug abuse, and the relationship between alcohol intoxication and suicide. He served as the National Association of Medical Examiners Executive Vice President from 2009 to 2015.

The Eye Bank Association of America, established in 1961, is the oldest transplant association in the nation. The association sets standards, provides education and engages in advocacy to support donation, transplantation and research. Its 80-plus member eye banks operate in the U.S., Canada and Asia. These eye banks made possible more than 79,000 sight-restoring corneal transplants in 2015. Compatible corneal tissue is not dependent on blood type, age, eyesight strength or eye color. To learn more, visit www.restoresight.org.