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Ronald E. Smith, distinguished clinician-scientist
Ronald E. Smith, MD, died on March 17, 2014. He was 71 years old. A distinguished clinician-scientist and professor, Dr. Smith was a long-time leader at the Academy, at the University of Southern California (USC) Doheny Eye Institute and in other organizations. During his lengthy tenure at Doheny, he served as chairman of the department of ophthalmology at the USC Keck School of Medicine, director of the Doheny Cornea Service, and medical director of the Doheny Eye and Tissue Transplant Bank. He was president of the Castroviejo Cornea Society, president of the American Uveitis Society, vice president of the Association for Vision and Research in Ophthalmology, secretary for the Academy's Global Alliances, and chairman of the American Board of Ophthalmology, among other leadership roles within the field. Dr. Smith coauthored more than 290 scientific publications, three texts, and numerous abstracts and scientific posters.
"Ron's gifts to ophthalmology extended far beyond the Academy, and he has received more honors than seems possible—but he deserved even more. For those of us who were privileged to know him, we will remember his sense of self-deprecating humor, quick laugh, kindness, and desire and success in befriending and mentoring young people. Ron was always guided by an impeccable sense of integrity and personal honor. He was and will always be one of the best of the best," said Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD.
David L. Epstein, distinguished scholar
David L. Epstein, MD, MMM, died March 4, 2014. He was the Joseph A.C. Wadsworth Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Duke University School of Medicine. A distinguished clinician-scientist, Dr. Epstein authored more than 230 scholarly papers and consulted in glaucoma clinical care while maintaining an active glaucoma research program. Dr. Epstein had a special interest in fostering physician-scientists’ careers in ophthalmology. He received many awards for his work including the 2013 Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Melvin L. Rubin, father of the OKAP
Melvin L. Rubin, MD died on Feb. 23. He was 81. Considered by many to be the father of the Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP), Dr. Rubin was a fellow of the Academy since 1963. In 1970, he served on its first Committee on Continuing Education, which led to some of the Academy's most notable achievements including the Basic and Clinical Science Course, development of the OKAP exam, the practitioners advisory group, the young ophthalmologists' group, the journal Ophthalmology, Focal Points clinical modules, and others. Dr. Rubin served as Academy president in 1988 and received the Academy's Special Recognition Award in 2010.
"For more than a generation of ophthalmology residents, Mel Rubin's Optics for Clinicians was the 'go-to' source for learning optics and refraction. For all ophthalmologists, his commitment to education resulted in programs that endure and remain vibrant and essential to our profession," said Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD.
Clive H. Sell, vitreoretinal surgeon
Clive H. Sell, MD, died Jan. 5, 2014, at the age of 59. Dr. Sell always attempted to not only maintain the highest standards of medical practice, but to pay it forward through teaching and research. He helped to create the sole vitreoretinal fellowship in Arizona. His work ethic and clinical and surgical skills live on in his former fellows who practice around the United States.
David Eifrig, founder of UNC’s Department of Ophthalmology
David Eric Eifrig, MD, who founded the University of North Carolina School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology, died Oct. 9, 2013. He was 78. Well-loved as an academic and clinician at UNC, Dr. Eifrig is best known for his dedication to his patients, especially those of lesser means. During one medical mission trip to Jamaica, he stood for nearly 14 hours without a break to treat patients who had waited for days to see him and his team. By the end of the day, most nurses and residents serving with him were too tired to stand. Each year the David E. Eifrig Ophthalmology Fund at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine brings to the campus a visiting lecturer who embodies Dr. Eifrig’s spirit of devotion to patients and a passion for helping research disease. The address is: David E. Eifrig Ophthalmology Fund through the Medical Foundation of North Carolina, 880 MLK Boulevard, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
Jorge Camara, humanitarian
Jorge Camara, MD, died Aug. Aug. 28, 2013, at the age of 63. In 2002, Dr. Camara received the Academy's Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award for his service to indigent patients in Hawaii, where he provided free medical care to the homeless, uninsured and others who had fallen through the cracks, such as the elderly and new immigrants. Dr. Camara was also active with the Aloha Medical Mission, which provided free medical and surgical care to indigent patients in the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Bangladesh. In 2001, Dr. Camara received the Hawaii Medical Association's Physician of the Year Award; in 2012 he received the Academy's Achievement Award.