American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
Future Leaders in Ophthalmology Converge
During the Fourth Annual Chief Resident Leadership Forum in Dallas this past May, Academy President C. P. Wilkinson, MD, challenged a group of 35 ophthalmology chief residents from across the country to get involved in their state societies and to serve well in every committee and position they take part in. He enlightened the chief residents regarding new offerings by the Academy, such as the new Web site and educational resources offered by the upcoming Ophthalmic News and Education Network to help them continue a lifelong process of learning ophthalmology.
The theme of the conference was to think beyond oneself and help build others’ careers to keep ophthalmology strong. In addition to hearing from Dr. Wilkinson, the chiefs learned about goal setting, ways to improve their residency programs and dealing with challenging residents. They were also evaluated with a personality profile and even learned dining room etiquette skills. More important, they created relationships with one another that they can rely on for years to come. The Chief Resident Leadership Forum was founded in 2004 by Rob Melendez, MD, a chief resident, and Wesley Millican, president of CareerPhysician.
Announcing the 2007 Academy Awards
It is with great pleasure and pride that the board of trustees and the awards committee announce this year’s award recipients.
Individuals who are honored with the Special Awards will be invited to attend the 2007 Annual Meeting in New Orleans as guests of the Academy’s president,
Guest of Honor Award
This award honors individuals for their importance to ophthalmology.
Distinguished Service Award
This award honors individuals or organizations for ongoing notable service to ophthalmology and to the Academy.
Special Recognition Award
This award honors individuals for their lifetime commitment to and support of ophthalmology; it may also be presented to an organization for outstanding service in a specific effort or cause that has improved the quality of eye care.
William L. Rich III, MD
Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award
This award recognizes Academy members for their contribution to humanitarian efforts, such as participation in charitable activities, care of the indigent, involvement in community service and other forms of ophthalmological care performed beyond the typical duties of an ophthalmologist.
Alessandro Pezzola, MD
International Blindness Prevention Award
This award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention of blindness or the restoration of sight around the world.
Gottfried O. H. Naumann, MD
ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS PROGRAM
The Achievement Awards program recognizes individuals (members and nonmembers) for their contribution to the scientific programs of the Annual Meeting and those who serve as Academy committee members, representatives, trustees, councilors, authors, coauthors and reviewers of educational material.
Life Achievement Award
Individuals who have cumulatively earned 60 points and have made significant contributions to ophthalmology as determined by the awards committee are nominated to receive this award.
Frederick L. Ferris III, MD
Senior Achievement Award
Individuals who have cumulatively earned 30 points are nominated to receive this award.
Lloyd P. Aiello, MD, PhD
Individuals who have cumulatively earned 10 points are nominated to receive this award.
Aazy A. Aaby, MD
SECRETARIAT AWARDS PROGRAM
This program recognizes individuals for contributions outside the scope of the Achievement Awards program. Each of the Academy’s secretaries and senior secretaries can submit nominees to the Academy’s awards committee
Nominated by the secretaries for Quality of Care & Knowledge Base Development, Ophthalmic Knowledge, Online Education/eLearning and the senior secretary for Clinical Education:
Carlo R. Bernardino, MD
Nominated by the secretary for the Annual Meeting:
Nominated by the secretaries for State Affairs and Federal Affairs, and the senior secretary for Advocacy:
Priscilla Arnold, MD
Nominated by the secretary for Communications:
Wayne Bizer, DO
Nominated by the senior secretary for Ophthalmic Practice:
Nominated by the editor of Ophthalmology:
Nominated by the secretary for Member Services:
Nominated by the chief medical editor of EyeNet:
Nominated by the international envoy:
Annual Business Meeting
Notice is hereby given that the annual business meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology will be held on Sunday, Nov. 11, in the Auditorium at the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, from 10 to 10:30 a.m.
In accordance with Academy bylaws, notice is hereby given of the following nominations for officers to the Academy, made by the Academy board of trustees in June. Please note that senior secretary for Ophthalmic Practice and secretary for the Annual Meeting are three-year terms, two trustee-at-large positions are available in 2008, and the council nominated both candidates for chair and vice-chair of the council during the Mid-Year Forum.
SENIOR SECRETARY FOR OPHTHALMIC PRACTICE
SECRETARY FOR ANNUAL MEETING
VICE CHAIR, COUNCIL
Nomination Procedures for the Academy Board
On Jan. 1, 2008, seven board of trustee positions will become vacant. Elections to fill those positions will take place by mail ballot after the Nov. 11, 2007, annual business meeting.
To nominate a candidate by petition for the 2008 board, submit a written petition to the Academy’s executive vice president no later than Aug. 11. The petition must be signed by at least 50 voting Academy members and fellows.
To suggest a nominee for the 2009 board, watch for the call for nominations that will be published in January’s EyeNet Magazine.
To read the rules in full, visit www.aao.org/bylaws and see Article V of the Academy bylaws.
The Academy Foundation’s New Web Site
The Academy Foundation has redesigned its public Web site, www.eyecareamerica.org. The goals of the site are to:
The site was built to conform to standard Web site accessibility guidelines (especially for low vision users and seniors). It is also in compliance with U.S. Department of Health and Health Services’ Health Literacy Improvement Program and federal plain-language guidelines.
Final Reminder: Update Your Listing for New Directory
Please visit “Update Your Membership Listing” at www.aao.org/member to ensure that your information is complete and accurate for both the Academy’s 2008– 2009 Member Directory and Find an Eye M.D., the online directory of practicing ophthalmologists. Changes to your information for the 2008–2009 Member Directory will be accepted through Aug. 24.
For more information, contact Member Services by phone, 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8581, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revised Waiting Room DVD for the Ophthalmic Practice
Inform your patients and their family members about eye care while they wait for their appointments.
The Waiting Room DVD for the Ophthalmic Practice (#050114) has been revised to include a Spanish translation and features 16 short presentations on common eye conditions and treatments, such as cataracts, floaters and flashes, and instilling eyedrops. Each presentation includes animated graphics and a physician’s explanation.
The entire DVD lasts approximately one hour and plays on a continuous loop. It also features a closed-captioned option for the convenience of office staff.
The Waiting Room DVD for the Ophthalmic Practice costs $225 for members and $295 for nonmembers.
For more information or to place an order, please visit www.aao.org/store or phone the Academy Service Center at 866-561-8558 (toll-free in the United States) or 415-561-8540.
Iowa’s Fellow and Resident Advocacy Night
“Attending the Academy’s 2007 Mid-Year Forum was an eye opening experience. It became more evident to me that ophthalmology needs to speak with a common voice, and we need to be active politically. Our goal with Fellow and Resident Advocacy Night is to get everyone involved,” said Matthew P. Rauen, MD, a first-year resident at the University of Iowa.
Dr. Rauen was one of 74 Academy members-in-training (MIT) who attended the April Mid-Year Forum in Washington, D.C. MITs were sponsored to participate by 25 state ophthalmology societies, three subspecialty societies and several training programs via the Academy’s Advocacy Ambassador Program. The experience motivated Dr. Rauen to further his advocacy efforts on behalf of ophthalmology. He returned to his training program and immediately discussed with his program director, Thomas A. Oetting, MD, how he could spread the word and motivate his peers.
The result was an event that Dr. Rauen hopes will become an annual one: a Fellow and Resident Professional Advocacy Night. Its debut was on June 11 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics East Room. All 15 residents and several fellows were invited to hear from Drs. Rauen and Oetting along with a slate of speakers, including Keith D. Carter, MD, FACS, Academy trustee-at-large and Iowa’s chairman of ophthalmology; Steven J. Jacobs, MD, Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology president; and Mariannette J. Miller-Meeks, MD, Iowa Medical Society president.
Panelists focused on local advocacy issues and the need to contribute to those Academy funds that ultimately serve to benefit patients, such as OphthPAC and the Surgical Scope Fund.
“Matt has been a model Advocacy Ambassador Program participant,” said Dr. Carter. “One of the goals of this American Academy program is to engage, train and educate members-in-training early on as to the importance of advocating for their profession and patients. Matt clearly got the message and ran with it. The inaugural Fellow and Resident Professional Advocacy Night was a great idea, and we believe it will only continue to improve in the future.”
Jahnigen Scholarships Awarded in Ophthalmology
Three Dennis W. Jahnigen Career Development Scholarships have been awarded to Joshua L. Dunaief, MD, PhD, for research on longevity and retinal aging in mice, Bradley J. Katz, MD, for research on giant cell arthritis, and Simon K. Law, MD, for research on age-related macular degeneration.
The Jahnigen program provides a two-year award designed to support young faculty in the surgical subspecialties, including ophthalmology, and is intended to allow individuals to initiate and sustain a career in research and education in the geriatrics aspects of their discipline.
Who’s in the News
Mark J. Gallardo, MD, was interviewed by the El Paso Times for a May 28 story on children’s use of disposable contacts and the dangers of buying contacts from unlicensed suppliers. “There was a time,” Dr. Gallardo said, “when we had an epidemic of eye infections because people were buying contacts on the black market, such as at swap meets.”
The New York Times interviewed Pamela F. Gallin, MD, FACS, for a May 22 story on the dangers of children wearing someone else’s prescription glasses. There are potential risks for young children who wear the wrong prescription for an extended period, Dr. Gallin said. This is especially true for ages nine and younger.
The Memphis Daily News quoted M. Cathleen Schanzer, MD, FACS, for a May 11 article about her missionary work in Africa and her involvement in a new vision clinic, Southern Eye Clinic, Serabu, in Sierra Leone. The majority of surgeries Dr. Schanzer performs are on people who have gone blind because of cataracts. “They’re incapacitated by their blindness,” Dr. Schanzer said. “That means that someone else now has to care for them. Well, that person can’t be working if they’ve got to care for a blind person, and so you get the whole poverty trap where there are two people who can’t have any source of income.”
Ophthalmology has lost two seminal figures.
George W. Weinstein, MD, former Academy president, died on May 12 in Encinitas, Calif. He was 72. The cause was prostate cancer and complications from Pick’s disease, a form of dementia.
Dr. Weinstein was born in 1935 in East Orange, N.J. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1955 and his M.D. from the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in 1959.
He was formerly the Jane McDermott Shott professor and chairman of ophthalmology at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University, professor and chairman of ophthalmology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, faculty member of the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University, regent of the American College of Surgeons and director of the American Board of Ophthalmology.
He is survived by his wife, Sheila, son, Bruce, daughter-in-law, Kristen, two daughters, Elizabeth and Rachel, two grandchildren, Carlee and Sammy, sister, Barbara, and brother-in-law, Daniel.
Donations may be made in his memory to: Neurosciences Center for Dementia Research, Mayo Clinic Development Office, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224.
Michael Blumenthal, MD, one of the leaders of cataract surgery in the world, passed away in April 2007 of cancer.
Born in Tiberias, Israel, to immigrants from Germany, Dr. Blumenthal graduated from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School and completed his residency at the Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. After serving in East Africa for two years, he returned to Israel and, at the age of 35, was named chairman of ophthalmology at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, the youngest serving eye department head in Israel.
From 1976 to 1993 he was chairman of ophthalmology of Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, and from 1985 was professor of ophthalmology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. In 1984, he established the Ein Tal Eye Center in the name of his parents. He served as head of the Israel Ophthalmology Society from 1992 to 1996, and as president of the European Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery from 1995 to 1997.
Dr. Blumenthal invented the “Blumenthal mini-nuc” technique for performing cataract surgery through a small incision without the need for phacoemulsification. This method has been adapted by ophthalmic surgeons in many developing countries.
The Academy Lobbies for ASC Reform
The Academy is working to expand patient access to Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) by advocating for a policy that allows all procedures to be performed in the ASC, unless the procedure is deemed unsafe in the ASC.
As of press time, the Academy has joined a coalition of physician groups and ASC organizations to push for legislation that would pay ASCs at the rate of 75 percent of the 2008 hospital outpatient department rate (HOPD). A Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published rule currently proposes paying ASCs at 62 percent of the 2008 HOPD rate. This was part of the reform for ASC payments and procedures in response to a requirement in the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act that would implement a new payment methodology by 2008.
To demonstrate disappointment with CMS proposed regulation, at the request of the ASC coalition, Reps. Kendrick Meek (D–Fla.) and Wally Herger (R–Calif.) reintroduced the Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Modernization Act of 2007 (H.R. 1823) earlier this year. This bill would pay ASCs at the rate of 75 percent of the HOPD and is similar to legislation supported in the last Congress by the Academy, the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society and others in the ASC community. The Senate is expected to introduce similar legislation this summer. The Academy believes the bill is necessary to reform the regulation to fully link ASC payments to the hospital payments system and to fund it at a level that ensures fair and appropriate payments for ophthalmologic ASCs.
“Tying ASC payments to hospital HOPD rates makes sense,” said Catherine G. Cohen, the Academy’s vice president for Governmental Affairs. “Hospital data are better than ASC data,” Ms. Cohen added. “CMS tried for years to get ASC data and has never been successful. So we are ready to accept hospital data.”
The Academy was pleased to see CMS propose implementation of a MedPAC recommendation for an exclusive list of ASC procedures in the new rule. The list would expand the number of procedures that could be performed in an ASC to more than 750, including 65 additional eye procedures that do not require an overnight stay. All services would be permitted in an ASC, unless excluded by CMS for reasons of safety or quality.
The Academy will also work to improve the proposed 2008 hospital outpatient prospective payment system rate for ASCs and push for increases that match HOPD payments and that are not based on the consumer price index.
The Academy was pleased to see CMS propose implementation of a MedPAC recommendation for an expansion of procedures that could be performed in an ASC.