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WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Cooksey, who combines the practice of medicine with service in the U.S. House of Representatives, was honored by the American Academy of Opthamology at its annual meeting recently.
Cooksey was recognized as the AAO's "Guest of Honor" at the annual meeting in Dallas for his contributions as a practicing opthamologist and U.S. congressman. It will be in the latest of several awards received by Cooksey this year.
Dr. Cooksey, elected to Congress in 1996, has practiced ophthalmology in Monroe, La., since 1972. He has been an American Academy of Ophthalmology Fellow since 1975.
He served as president of the Ouachita Parish Medical Society, vice president of the Louisiana State Medical Society, and president of the Louisiana Ophthalmology Association.
Also an active member of the United Methodist Church, he has made five medical mission trips to Africa and performed eye surgery at the remote Maua Methodist Hospital in Maua, Kenya.
After his first trip, he returned home and raised enough funds through private donations to build an eye clinic at the hospital that is used by local and visiting ophthalmologists.
He also raised funds for a station wagon and medical equipment for another clinic in Mozambique.
This is Cooksey's second award this month. Earlier he received the Jefferson Award from the Citizens for a Sound Economy for his voting record on behalf of smaller government, lower taxes, and more freedom.
In September, he was announced as one of the winners of the "Guardian of Small Business" award made by the National Federation of Independent Business. Cooksey qualified for that award on the basis of one of the strongest pro-business voting records in Congress.
He had a 93 percent pro-business rating based upon his votes on 20 crucial bills affecting small business during the 1999 and 2000 sessions of the House of Representatives.
In June, Cooksey was chosen as the "Alumnus of the Year" by the Louisiana State University School of Medicine for his "distinguished practice of ophthalmology, his work as a medical missionary, his leadership in the battle for medical malpractice reform in Louisiana, his honorable service in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, and his distinction as a member of Congress."
Awards Cooksey has received in previous years include one from the National Association of Wheat Growers, which recognized him for his 100 percent voting record on agriculture bills; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which gave him its "Spirit of Enterprise" award in recognition of his pro-business voting record.