has 45 years experience in ophthalmology and international blindness prevention. She was certified as an Ophthalmic Medical Technologist after graduating from the two-year training program at the Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, DC. A Viet Nam era veteran, US Air Force Medical Corps (1966 -1971), she served in the Philippines and Italy. Ms. Sheffield was appointed Assistant Director for Paramedical Training Programs at the International Eye Foundation in 1979. She lived in Kenya working with IEF’s “Kenya Rural Blindness Prevention Project” 1980-1983 with follow on assignments in the Middle East and Caribbean. In 1984, she joined Helen Keller International as Director of Technical, Educational, and Scientific Services providing training, conducting surveys, and designing materials with a focus on vitamin A deficiency in Asia and Africa. Ms. Sheffield worked closely with UNICEF during the drought and famine in Ethiopia and Sudan in 1985 and 1986, battling vitamin A deficiency and trachoma. She returned to IEF as President & CEO in 1990. Ms. Sheffield is a recognized leader in the field of blindness prevention; consulted with the World Health Organization’s "Programme for Prevention of Blindness" 1985-1987 in Geneva designing and producing public eye health education materials.
She lectures at US and UK universities and has presented at the Royal Society of Medicine in London; authored 25 articles, 4 book chapters, 59 presentations at professional conferences, and served as technical reviewer on 7 publications. Ms. Sheffield is Vice President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) 2015-2020; Co-Chaired the IAPB North America Region (1999-2012); Chaired the IAPB "Partnership Committee” in collaboration with WHO 1993-1998; member of the Executive Committee (founding Vice Chair 2009-2010) of VISION 2020/USA; consultant to the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO) Global Outreach & Education Committee; and was an officer of InterAction, a US-based consortium of over 160 international NGOs. In October 2013, she was appointed Vice Chair of the newly formed International Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Council’s Advisory Board.
Ms. Sheffield was given the rank of Dame by HM Queen Elizabeth II in The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, served on the Hospital’s Board of Trustees 2009-2015 chairing the Strategy Committee and serving on the Clinical Governance Committee, and serves on the US Chapter (Board) 2015-2018 serving on the Development, Finance, & Investiture Committees. She received an AAO Senior Achievement Award-2014, AAO Secretariat Award-2013, 2010 “Prince Abdulaziz Ahmad Al Saud Prevention of Blindness Award” from the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology, AAO Achievement Award-1999, IAPB Regional Achievement Award-1998, and 1990 Statesmanship Award from the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology. Ms. Sheffield served on the United Nations Association/National Capital Area Board receiving its Human Rights Award in 1998. She is an Overseas Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine-UK, DACOR-An Organization of Foreign Service Professionals, and an Honorary Member of the Union of Bulgarian Ophthalmologists and the Albanian Society of Ophthalmology. Ms. Sheffield has traveled to 105 countries, lived in five countries on four continents, and has professional experience in 44 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.