S. William Clark III, MD
S. William Clark III, MD was nominated by the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology (GSO) to receive this year's Outstanding Advocate Award.
A solo general ophthalmologist in Waycross, Ga., Dr. Clark has been a committed advocate for ophthalmology and organized medicine at the state and federal levels since completing his fellowship in 1984. As a second-generation ophthalmologist, Dr. Clark learned the importance of being an effective political advocate from his father at an early age. His interest developed into a passion for patient and physician advocacy after he returned home to practice.
Dr. Clark is past president and board member of the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) and has served as vice president and Academy Councilor representing the GSO. He has been active in the legislative and PAC committees of both organizations.
Since 1988, he has served in the AMA House of Delegates, representing the AMA Young Physicians Section, the Academy and MAG and is now vice-chair of the Georgia AMA Delegation. He chaired the Academy's OphthPAC® committee from 2007 to 2011.
His academic appointments as adjunct associate professor in ophthalmology at Emory and clinical assistant professor in family medicine at the Medical College of Georgia have given him the platform to deliver advocacy training to residents there as well as at the University of Florida's Shands hospital and Yale.
Emulating the Academy's Leadership Development Program, Dr. Clark founded the Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (GPLA) during his term as MAG president, as an initiative to involve more physicians in statewide advocacy and leadership efforts. Now in its fifth year, GPLA was the driving force behind the 2012 GSO Advocacy Day, an inaugural program the GSO President and GPLA graduate David Bogorad, MD, developed as his service project. Thanks to Dr. Clark's foresight, the GPLA will, without a doubt, continue to be a successful program and serve as a breeding ground for state-level advocacy efforts across medical specialties, impacting all physicians in the state.
During Dr. Clark's tenure as OphthPAC chairman, theAcademy achieved significant goals. The Congressional Advocacy Program successfully matched every member of Congress with a constituent Academy Congressional Advocate. The PAC first broke the $2 million threshold and was nationally recognized for strategic expenditures. Ophthalmologists' incomes were increased and our patients were protected at the federal level.
Dr. Clark is tireless in his efforts and loyalty to organized medicine, and specifically to ophthalmology. His level of commitment is to be admired by his colleagues and new generations of physicians to come. The scope of his advocacy efforts will continue through the GPLA program, participation with organized medicine and his unwavering dedication to his friends in Congress. For nearly 30 years, he has put forth tremendous time and energy to ensure the ophthalmologist's point of view is heard and considered when relevant legislative issues arise. This steady involvement has forged personal relationships and mutual esteem with federal and state legislators, further expanding his scope of influence on key concerns for patients and physicians.
As one colleague puts it, "Bill Clark has worked tirelessly for his entire career on behalf of our specialty. His efforts have been highly effective at organizing and inspiring other ophthalmologists in Georgia and around the country." For his commitment and devotion to all his activities in the state and federal levels, the Academy is proud to honor Dr. Clark with this year's Outstanding Advocate Award.