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  • Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award

    2023 Outstanding Humanitarian Service Awardee: Chandak Ghosh, MD, MPH, FAAO

    Awards Committee

    The Academy is privileged to honor Chandak Ghosh, MD, MPH, FAAO, with the 2023 Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award.

    Dr. Ghosh was nominated by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for his work to eliminate barriers America’s most vulnerable face in accessing comprehensive eye care. Among the few ophthalmologists in a federal administrative position, Dr. Ghosh feels an urgent need and responsibility to develop novel pathways and collaborations to link these communities to ophthalmology. Subsequently his direct interventions through both clinical care and policy continue to reduce vision disparities for millions of Americans.

    Dr. Ghosh has provided clinical ophthalmologic care for over 20 years to inner-city populations, including veterans and new immigrants, in both Queens and the Bronx in New York City. Voluntarily deploying for public health emergencies, he has treated refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, children who crossed the U.S. border illegally without adults and hurricane victims. These clinical experiences helped Dr. Ghosh move beyond his standard duties at HRSA to consider how the indigent can access quality eye care.

    HRSA’s Health Center Program supports access to primary care for 30 million Americans at over 14,000 community-based sites nationally. Dr. Ghosh developed guidance to promote and operationalize eye care as part of the health center’s services. Using this guidance and his direct technical assistance, nearly 100% of New York State’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), now offer primary eye care. He partnered with NYC Health and Hospitals Corp. (H+H), New York City’s public hospital system, to create an easy referral process from health centers for complex eye cases. He also helped build the hospital system’s diabetic retinopathy telemedicine screening program, the largest in the country. Following these successful examples, numerous health centers and public hospitals nationally have collaborated to provide similar eye care services. An estimated 2 million now have access to these FQHC and H+H interventions in New York alone.

    Also on a national scale, Dr. Ghosh partnered with Children’s Health Fund Foundation (CHF) to produce an initiative that screens over 80,000 children annually for strabismus, amblyopia and refractive error to improve school learning. CHF funds 50 mobile and fixed sites in 350 of the nation’s most disadvantaged rural and urban communities.

    Dr. Ghosh received his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia, and completed ophthalmology residency training at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (now Northwell), followed by a fellowship in minority health policy at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. He is deputy regional administrator at HRSA, the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to providing equitable health care to the nation’s highest-need communities — people who are geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable. Dr. Ghosh also serves as the only ophthalmologist in the U.S. Public Health Service, the 6,000-member uniformed corps led by the U.S. surgeon general.