• The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Academy President Anne L. Coleman, MD, PhD, are pleased to recognize M. Roy Wilson, MD, MS, as a guest of honor at AAO 2020 Virtual.

    Dr. Wilson has led an exemplary academic career, beginning with an accelerated promotion to full professor in eight years while Chair of the Charles Drew Department of Ophthalmology and member of the Glaucoma Division at UCLA’s Stein Eye Institute. He chaired the board of directors of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and was vice president for health sciences at Creighton University before moving to Texas Tech University to serve as president of the health sciences center. There, he established the Paul Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, now a national leader on health issues affecting the U.S.-Mexico border region. As chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver, Dr. Wilson navigated the complex task of integrating the health campus and main campus into one campus. He chaired the University of Colorado Hospital’s board of directors and created the Colorado School of Public Health, the first and only accredited school of public health in the Rocky Mountain region.

    Dr. Wilson is the current president of Wayne State University (WSU). Under his leadership, WSU has earned national recognition from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, including a Project Degree Completion Award that celebrated the institution’s dramatic improvement in graduation rates. The WSU School of Medicine achieved a 10-fold increase in the matriculation of under-represented minority students from 2014 to 2020.

    Before moving to WSU, Dr. Wilson served as deputy director for strategic scientific planning and program coordination at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has served on the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director, the agency’s highest council, since 2016.

    Dr. Wilson is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formally known as the Institute of Medicine) and is on the planning committee for the National Academy of Medicine 50th Anniversary Scientific Symposium. From 2017 to 2018, he was the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which represents all medical schools in the United States and Canada. In both the National Academy of Medicine and AAMC, he has been a key advocate for engaging black men in medicine.   

    Dr. Wilson is an accomplished researcher, receiving the NIH Director’s Award for his accomplished research on glaucoma and blindness in West Africa, the Caribbean and underserved communities in the United States. He chaired the NIH Data Monitoring and Oversight Committee of the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study III from 2010 to 2014 and the National Eye Institute’s African American Eye Disease Study from 2013 to 2018.

    An active member of the Academy, Dr. Wilson has served on the national scientific advisory board for glaucoma and on the national advisory board for the EyeCare America Glaucoma project, a program that connects more than 2 million people to sight-saving care and resources from volunteer ophthalmologists across the United States. He is a past chair and current member of the advisory board for the H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., M.D. Center for Quality Eye Care. Since 1987, Dr. Wilson has been an active lecturer and moderator at numerous Academy annual meetings. He has received the Academy’s Life Achievement Honor Award and Senior Achievement Award. In addition, he is a member of the American Ophthalmological Society and the Glaucoma Research Society.

     Dr. Wilson’s leadership has shaped the fields of ophthalmology, academic medicine, public health, and education by inspiring individuals, transforming campuses and guiding the profession at national and international levels. It has been a privilege to work alongside Dr. Wilson as a friend and colleague. I am pleased to recognize Dr. Wilson as an AAO 2020 Guest of Honor.