The Academy is privileged to honor David F. Chang, MD, with the 2019 Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award.
This award recognizes Dr. Chang for his longstanding efforts to address global cataract blindness by expanding surgical training in underserved countries, including Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Haiti, and China.
Dr. Chang was nominated by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) for serving as chairman of the ASCRS Foundation’s International division. In this role, Dr. Chang has initiated a number of the foundation’s collaborative efforts directed toward tackling the global backlog of cataract blindness.
In 2015, Dr. Chang initiated and helped fund a partnership between the ASCRS Foundation and the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) to expand and improve Ethiopia’s five residency training programs. By organizing and supporting a coalition of residency directors, the curriculum has been standardized across all of Ethiopia’s ophthalmology programs and a clinical rotation was added at the Robert Sinskey Eye Institute to augment resident surgical training. The ASCRS Foundation’s Sinskey Eye Institute, a full-service eye hospital established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2005 has treated over 250,000 needy patients since its opening.
Under Dr. Chang’s leadership, the Foundation funded and helped develop the Globalsight.org website to provide ophthalmologist education and networking for cataract blindness. Dr. Chang initiated additional Foundation collaborations with Project Vision on charity eye hospitals in China, with Zeiss on a new program to donate refurbished equipment to residency programs in developing countries, with ORBIS on cataract surgical simulation, with Stanford and the Tilganga Eye Institute to study the diagnostic utility of the Paxos smartphone camera adapter for rural telemedicine in Nepal, with SEE International on expanding residency training in Haiti, and with Aravind and the “mini-CAP” Alliance to develop a non-phaco, smaller incision, manual ECCE using the miLOOP. Dr. Chang recently spearheaded creation of an ASCRS Foundation humanitarian prize, and a new grant program to fund young ophthalmologists interested in international service opportunities.
Finally, Dr. Chang has been a vocal and prominent proponent of manual, small incision cataract surgery in developing settings. He has collaborated with Aravind Eye Hospital, Tilganga Eye Institute, and Project Vision to publish more than 15 peer-reviewed studies and papers on a variety of topics relating to cataract blindness. He is on the medical advisory boards for both HCP and Project Vision.
Dr. Chang has a cataract referral practice in Los Altos, Calif. He went to Harvard Medical School and completed his residency at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2018, Dr. Chang also received the Academy’s Life Achievement Honor Award.