• Distinguished Service Award

    2021 Distinguished Service Awardee: Jane A. Aguirre

    Awards Committee

    Jane Aguirre has been selected to receive the Academy’s 2021 Distinguished Service Award. She is currently vice president for Membership and Alliances, and the award is bestowed in recognition of over 40 years of service.

    Ms. Aguirre has played a pivotal role in many of the Academy’s most important initiatives. In the early 1980s, she guided the development and launch of the Academy’s Code of Ethics. Now, 40 years later, she and her division still staff the Ethics Committee. She was deeply involved in the integration of American Association of Ophthalmology members into the Academy, including the creation of categories for international and resident ophthalmologists. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Aguirre oversaw the development of the Academy’s first practice management programs and services.

    She also played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Co. (OMIC) — traveling around the country to recruit ophthalmologists and raise the initial capital. Ms. Aguirre has for over a decade also played a critical role in supporting the International Society of Refractive Surgery. She was a cofounder of Ophthalmic Women Leaders.

    Perhaps Ms. Aguirre is best known for helping to lead the Academy’s programs in the international arena through the division of Membership and Alliances. She has an unflagging commitment to the needs of ophthalmologists in every country — particularly in developing nations. She speaks multiple languages fluently and has traveled around the globe in service to the Academy, it's members and their patients, making countless personal friendships with members.

    It should be no surprise, therefore, that Ms. Aguirre was asked to shepherd the development of the Academy’s new Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program. Under her staff leadership, the number of participants has grown fourfold and sustainable funding has been secured.

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology is proud to recognize and to honor Jane Aguirre’s over 40 years of dedication to the profession of ophthalmology.