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About the Academy
J Donald M Gass MD

The American Academy of Ophthalmology takes special pride in honoring J Donald M Gass MD as a recipient of the Laureate Recognition Award at its 108th Annual Meeting.

Dr Gass is honored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology for his highly significant contributions to our knowledge of medical retinal disease. As a modest and unpretentious leader in the academic world, his dedication to our specialty through the training of future ophthalmologists has earned him the highest esteem of his colleagues. He has achieved national and international recognition as a clinician, investigator and educator. His unique abilities to correlate clinical and pathological findings in diseases of the retina and choroid and to interpret clinicoathologic processes have had an unparalleled, contemporary impact on the approach to the diagnosis and management of ocular diseases.

Dr. Gass was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Between completion of his undergraduate studies and medical school, he served on active duty as a line officer in the United States Navy from 1950 to 1953 during the Korean War. After completion of his tour of duty, he returned to Vanderbilt University, from which he received his medical degree in 1957. He served his residency in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and completed a fellowship in ophthalmic pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. His love and understanding of pathologic processes would serve as a strong foundation for his understanding of macular diseases throughout his career.

In 1963, he joined the faculty of the University of Miami School of Medicine in the Department of Ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, where he had a distinguished career combining clinical research and teaching. He became professor of ophthalmology in 1972 and as a magnificent teacher became a respected legend in his own time. His classic books, Stereoscopic Atlas of Macular Diseases; a Fundoscopic and Angiographic Presentation and Differential Diagnosis of Intraocular Tumors, a Stereoscopic Presentation, have become standards and are timeless. In 1995, he left Miami to join the Vanderbilt faculty.

Dr. Gass has authored 12 book chapters and over 260 articles in peer-reviewed journals, many of which are landmark contributions. He has been cited for outstanding achievement by almost all of the major professional organizations in ophthalmology and by many academic institutions in the United States and abroad.

As one of the world?€™s greatest authorities on medical management of retinal diseases, Dr. Gass is the most sought after consultant in retinal diseases and rare is the day when he does not review fundus and fluorescein photographs from ophthalmologists locally and throughout the world. He has delivered over 30 named lectureships including the Jackson Memorial Lecture, the Krill Memorial Lecture, and the Schepens Lectureship. He has received numerous major awards, such as the Herman Wacker Prize of Club Jules Gonin, the Lucien Howe Medal of the American Ophthalmologic Society, the Award of Merit from the Retina Research Foundation of the Retina Society, and an honorary degree from Thomas Jefferson University to name a few. His list of medal awards is lengthy, including the Donders Medal of the Netherlands Ophthalmologic Society, the Jorge Malbran medal, and most recently the Helen Keller Prize from the Helen Keller Foundation, one of the most coveted prizes in opthalmology. Also, a Macula Society lectureship and medal has been named in his honor: The Gass Medal For Outstanding Contributions in Macular Disease.

Recognized as the "Father of Macular Diseases," Dr. Gass?€™ application of his gifted intellect and genius of original thought have produced a permanent legacy that has benefited ophthalmology, ophthalmologists, and our patients. In spite of his richly deserved international reputation and image, he remains a modest, humble individual, who is genuinely uncomfortable with public recognition. He is a humanitarian of the first order and changed the course of American ophthalmology in the latter half of the Twentieth Century.

Dr. Gass has retired to his home in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife of 54 years. They have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. He currently continues to teach at Vanderbilt University in his home state of Tennessee.

Dr. Gass is honored at this 2004 Joint Meeting for his distinguished career and contributions to ophthalmology. It is with great pleasure that the Academy welcomes Dr. J Donald M Gass as a 2004 Academy Laureate