Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD
Although I wear many professional hats – physician, scientist, administrator, professor, department chairman – when my neighbors ask what I do, my reply is always, "I am an ophthalmologist." We are all truly privileged to enjoy the trust of our patients to care for their eyes. I am grateful for the millions of hours of research that have allowed us to understand how the eye functions in health and disease; grateful for the outstanding education I received as a medical student, resident, fellow and attending; and grateful to live in a society that allows me to earn my living as an Eye M.D.
I have had the privilege of serving the Academy in a number of capacities, including on the Maintenance of Certification Committee, the Nominating Committee and on the Uveitis BCSC Committee. I serve on the Editorial Board for Ophthalmology and for EyeNet. I am a graduate of the Leadership Development Program and served as councilor for the American Uveitis Society. I have served as vice chair and chair of the Council and for the past four years have been a member of the Board of Trustees, where I have served on the Executive Committee, Membership Committee and led the Physician Assistant Task Force.
I bring to the presidency a broad background of experience in ophthalmology. I am a clinician-scientist with an active research laboratory. I have a busy referral uveitis practice in Seattle. I currently direct the University of Washington Medicine Eye Institute, a 34-member multispecialty group, and am intimately familiar with the practice management issues that affect the broad Academy membership. I have also served as residency program director and have served six years as chairman of the department of ophthalmology at University of Washington. I have served as president and trustee of the American Uveitis Society and on the board of my state society, the Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, where I am active in local advocacy issues.
The next several years portend many new challenges to our profession, as the medical landscape shifts with the emergence of accountable care organizations and with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We continue to face threats to our patients by groups mistaking legislation for education. As president-elect and president of the Academy, I look forward to serving as advocate for the profession and our patients. Ophthalmologists provide true value for our patients and our society. As president I will work diligently to ensure that our Academy provides great value to its members, to support our profession in providing the best possible care for our patients.