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  • Guests of Honor

    2023 Guest of Honor Awardee: Philip R. Rizzuto, MD

    Awards Committee

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Academy President Daniel J. Briceland, MD are pleased to recognize Philip R. Rizzuto, MD as a guest of honor at AAO 2023.

    Dr. Rizzuto is recognized for his contributions to the field of ophthalmology, service to the Academy and his community. He is being honored for his commitment to volunteerism, his work as an innovative clinician educator, his transformative leadership skills and stalwart support as an advocate for his colleagues and all of ophthalmology.

    Dr. Rizzuto states it is the greatest distinction to be recognized by his ophthalmology brother and dear friend Dan Briceland, MD, along with our two other guests of honor, Dr. Bradford and Dr. Brennan. All three friends, he notes, were stewards of his career, and he credits them with sharing how we as ophthalmologists should work and treat others while striving to protect sight and empower lives.

    For close to 20 years Dr. Rizzuto has been an active volunteer with the Academy, has been Dr. Briceland’s dedicated lieutenant and is continually blessed with wonderful friends he has met along the way. A 2004 graduate of the Academy Leadership Development Program, Dr. Rizzuto never learned how to say “no.” He shared his clinical expertise on the Academy’s Patient Education Committee, subsequently becoming chair. His advocacy chops were honed with Drs. Briceland, Brennan and Bradford, with active roles on the Secretariat for State Affairs and working with the Surgical Scope Fund.

    Each year he brings second-year ophthalmology residents from Brown University as Advocacy Ambassador Program participants to take part in the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum. He served on the initial panel for the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program, nominating committee, as well as on young ophthalmologist (YO) programs. While serving as the Academy’s Secretary for Communications, he worked with an amazing group of dedicated members to help spearhead the modification of the website and rebranding of the Academy, including the development of its logo and tagline. He currently serves on the Academy’s Practicing Ophthalmologist Academic Committee on Education and works with the Academy Foundation on the Orbital Committee. He has been recognized by numerous secretariat awards, as well as achievement awards within the Academy.

    As a professor of surgery at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, Dr. Rizzuto continues to train and educate residents and medical students. Brown has recognized him with numerous deans’ teaching awards and last year, the dean’s award for excellence in mentoring.

    Dr. Rizzuto’s volunteer work is not limited to the Academy. He has made multiple trips to work and collaborate with colleagues in Haiti, including after the devastating earthquake. As part of a comprehensive medical team, he started the ophthalmology service at the Rhode Island Free Clinic, staffs it monthly and serves on the clinic’s board of directors.

    Dr. Rizzuto has served as the president of the Rhode Island Society of Eye Physician and Surgeons and is currently director of public affairs and the PAC chair.

    He realizes he could never have had any of these blessings without the love of friends and support of his beautiful family.

    Dr. Rizzuto, a native New Yorker and loyal Yankees fan, is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany and received his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He obtained his ophthalmology training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in New York and completed an oculoplastic surgery fellowship at the Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit, Mich. Dr. Rizzuto started his solo practice dedicated to referral based Oculoplastic surgery 25 years ago. He has been instrumental in helping many ophthalmologists with an interest in solo practice successfully set up their dream jobs. He says he has never had more fun practicing medicine than he does now.