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  • Jeff H. Pettey, MD is the 2017 recipient of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Artemis Award.  He was nominated by both the Utah Ophthalmology Society, and the John A. Moran Eye Center at The University of Utah for his dedication to the underserved in his local community and abroad. Dr. Pettey is committed to eradicating healthcare disparities.  He is the founder and medical director of the Moran Eye Center’s local surgical outreach program Operation Sight.  He is a regular volunteer physician at local free clinics and volunteer surgeon for Moran Eye Center’s outreach on the Navajo Nation.  His global ophthalmology work focuses on supporting and establishing high quality training centers to sustainably address avoidable and curable blinding conditions.  Dr. Pettey has worked and lectured throughout the world and continues to be an advocate for the underserved. 

    Jeff Pettey, MD
    Jeff Pettey, MD

    Dr. Pettey completed both his residency and fellowship in academic, anterior segment, and international Ophthalmology at the Moran Eye Center. Under the mentorship of Drs. Randy Olson, Alan Crandall, and Geoff Tabin he began his work in global ophthalmology. He has worked in Tanzania, The Republic of Georgia, Guatemala, Micronesia, Nepal, among other countries focusing on building training capacity.  One ongoing project is a collaboration with Dr. Grace Sun of Cornell and Dr. Frank Sandi at the University of Dodoma in Tanzania.  Their initial work has provided thousands of patient screenings, over 600 surgeries, and hands on surgical training for multiple Tanzanian ophthalmic surgeons.  Their work took a major step forward recently when the Univeristy of Dodoma was approved to establish an ophthalmology residency training program in a country with less than one ophthalmologist per milion people.

    Dr. Pettey’s impact is also felt in his local community.  During Residency Dr. Pettey volunteered at local free clinics, providing free ophthalmic care to homeless and underserved populations.  However, he and a fellow resident Dr. Brian Stagg grew increasingly frustrated at the growing numbers of patients who returned each year with profound low vision from cataracts and no means to receive needed sight restoring surgery.  Drs. Pettey and Stagg set out to create a new model to provide surgical care to underserved patients who fall through the cracks of the US healthcare system.  Their initial efforts culminated in 12 free cataract surgeries to homeless patients in 2012.  Since that time, Moran’s Operation Sight, has provided over 200 free cataract, glaucoma, and cornea transplant surgeries to local patients and has become a national model for US based surgical outreach.

    Dr. Pettey is a passionate educator and directs the educational mission at the Moran Eye Center.  He oversees the medical student ophthlamology curriculum and the innovative residency prorgram which is widely regarded as a premier surgical training program.   He has been recognized with teaching awards at each step of his academic career including undergraduate and faculty level teaching awards.   In medical school Dr. Pettey was honored with The Ohio State University Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award for his work creating a summer camp for groups underrepresented in Medicine.  MD Camp recently graduated it 11th class and continues to insprire students from underrpresented groups to pursue careers in medicine. 

    Dr. Pettey is an advocate for his profession and began his involvement with the Utah Ophthalmology Society (UOS) in 2009 when he was sponsored to attend the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum as an Advocacy Ambassador Program participant. Dr. Pettey and UOS have been recognized by the academy for their advocacy work with local polticians and their collaboration to train UOS members in sutureless small incision cataract surgery.  He is a Leadership Development Program Graduate and works on the Academy’s Young Ophthalmologist Committee, Committtee for Resident Education, and the Committee for Global Outreach and Education.   He is working to engage the next generation of ophthalmologists by ensuring 100% of Utah’s ophthalmology residents participate as advocacy ambassadors during their training.

    Dr. Pettey is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Residency Program Director, and Medical Director of Global Outreach at the University of Utah Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.  Dr. Pettey earned a B.A. in Russian from the University of Utah and completed medical school at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.  He completed internship, residency and fellowships at the University of Utah’s John A. Moran Eye Center.  He is a comprehensive ophthalmologist with a clinical focus on complex anterior segment surgery.  Dr. Pettey is the Chief of Ophthalmology at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  His research interests include improving eyecare delivery in resource poor settings, understanding how to more effectively train eye surgeons, and how to improve cataract surgery safety and efficiency.