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  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Academy President Anne L. Coleman, MD, PhD, are pleased to recognize Bradley R. Straatsma, MD, JD, as a guest of honor at AAO 2020 Virtual.

    Dr. Straatsma is a professor emeritus in the Department of Ophthalmology at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute (SEI), formerly known as the Jules Stein Eye Institute. Within two years of becoming the first chair of the UCLA Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Straatsma collaborated with Dr. Jules Stein and gained financial support for the construction of Jules Stein Eye Institute, a massive achievement that foreshadowed his impressive and impactful career.

    As a leader in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Straatsma served as Academy president in 1977, president of the American Ophthalmological Society from 1992 to 1993, president of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) from 1974 to 1975, chair of the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1980, president of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology from 1987 to 1989 and president of Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis from 1998 to 2002.

    Dr. Straatsma provided exceptional leadership for the Academy, particularly during the critical merger with the American Association of Ophthalmology in 1981. Additionally, he edited “Eye Care for the American People,” which provided the Academy with an outline to guide ophthalmologic care for the American public. In honor of Dr. Straatsma’s exemplary leadership and contributions, the Academy and the AUPO established the Straatsma Award for Excellence in Resident Education. This award recognizes and celebrates an outstanding program director in ophthalmology.

    Dr. Straatsma served as editor-in-chief of the highly respected American Journal of Ophthalmology (AJO) from 1983 to 2002. He implemented substantial editorial innovations, strengthened the peer review process, enhanced the print journal and introduced the AJO website ( Additionally, Dr. Straatsma has authored more than 575 scientific publications, focused primarily on retinal disease, ophthalmic oncology and global eye care. He has received 75 awards, including the Academy’s Laureate Award, the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology’s Benjamin F. Boyd Humanitarian Award, the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology’s Gold Jose Rizal Medal and the International Council of Ophthalmology’s International Duke Elder Medal. He has given more than 50 distinguished lectures, including the prestigious Edward Jackson Lecture at the Academy’s annual meeting in 1973.

    Dr. Straatsma’s legacy has influenced ophthalmology at the local, national and international levels. He is a true leader who generously shares his wisdom and knowledge with others. I am honored to have him as my mentor and colleague, and to recognize him as an AAO 2020 Guest of Honor.