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About the Academy

Marshall M Parks MD

The American Academy of Ophthalmology takes special pride in honoring Marshall M. Parks, M.D. as a recipient of the Laureate Recognition Award at its 108th Annual Meeting.

Recognized as a founder of pediatric ophthalmology, Dr. Parks has dedicated his life to improving vision care for children.   No contemporary physician has had a greater impact on pediatric ophthalmology.  A prolific writer, respected lecturer, and dedicated teacher, and as the founder of the Costenbader Society, Dr. Parks has trained over 160 of the world’s leading pediatric ophthalmologists.

Born in Michigan in 1918, he received his medical education at the St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1943 before entering the United States Navy during World War II.  He proudly served his country as a medical officer on destroyers in the South Pacific.  After separating from the Navy, he studied pediatric ophthalmology under his mentor and associate Frank D. Costenbader, the first pediatric ophthalmologist, and together at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., they initiated the first fellowship-training program of any ophthalmology subspecialty.

Dr. Parks first entered ophthalmology in 1946 when there were no ophthalmology subspecialties.  He had seen many children with vision problems, and was concerned that there was no specific source of ophthalmic treatment for children.  To meet their special needs, Dr. Parks expanded the pediatric ophthalmology program at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.   He continued a full-time private practice while training residents and fellows in the hospital setting and private practices in Washington, D.C. and Dallas, Texas. 

Dr. Parks is a founding member and first President of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.  A large number of the members of this organization have benefited from the training program at Children’s.

As President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 1982, Dr. Parks served as the Academy’s host for world guests attending the International Congress of Ophthalmology. A Past-President of the National Children’s Eye Care Foundation and Chairman of the American Board of Ophthalmology, he has been honored with the Howe Medal from the American Ophthalmological Society.  He was inducted into the Knights of Malta, and was voted by his peers as one of the ten most influential ophthalmologists of the millennium. The Marshall M. Parks Lecture is a named lecture at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Such honors attest to the national and international magnitude of his many contributions.

Dr. Parks has presented 45 named lectures, authored several books, contributed chapters to 26 others, and has over 65 published papers.   An astute speaker, he is in demand for his expertise in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus.  As an innovator and pioneer in medicine, Dr. Parks’ seminal contributions include the diagnosis and treatment of strabismus and amblyopia, description of the monofixation syndrome, the benefits of early strabismus surgery, the management of infantile cataracts, and innovative surgical techniques. Members of the Academy have benefited immensely from his writing and teaching. 

Dr. Parks’ reserved manner does not reduce his effectiveness in strongly articulating or expressing his point of view when asked for an expert opinion. His boundless energy, his generosity of spirit, and his wisdom have profoundly contributed to the well being of countless patients and professional lives.  His leadership in ophthalmology extends far beyond his own subspecialty area.

Committed to faith, family, and children, he and his late wife Angeline raised eleven children.   Dr. Parks and his wife Martha presently reside in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Parks was honored at the 2004 Joint Meeting for his distinguished career and contributions to ophthalmology.  It was with great pleasure that the Academy welcomed Dr. Marshall Parks as a 2004 Academy Laureate.