Jerry A. Shields, MD, was born in a small southwestern Kentucky town. Dr. Shields has written that he never thought he would go to college or become a physician, much less an ophthalmologist. He attended Sturgis High School, where he was an All-Star football and basketball player. Following his graduation, Dr. Shields attended Murray State University on a football scholarship then went on to the University of Michigan Medical School. He interned in Denver, thinking that he might want to go into psychiatry, but changed his mind. In the meantime, he was called up for duty in Vietnam. After requesting the Navy, he was assigned as battalion surgeon to a Marine unit in the highlands of Vietnam. There Dr. Shields decided on ophthalmology. After return to the United States, he was accepted at The Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
After residency, Dr. Shields jumped at the opportunity to serve as a Wills retina fellow and subsequently studied ophthalmic pathology with Lorenz Zimmerman, MD, at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. He soon began to establish a reputation in oncology by doing P32 tests on individuals with pigmented lesions in the fundus. He went on to become one of the first pioneers in the use of radioactive plaques for the treatment of intraocular tumors.
Today Dr. Shields runs the Wills Eye Hospital Oncology Service with his partner and wife, Dr. Carol Shields. He cares deeply about his patients and his teaching and has trained approximately 100 fellows from all parts of the world in ocular oncology. He has authored or co-authored more than 1,300 articles and 550 textbook chapters for a total of nearly 1,900 scientific publications. He has also authored or co-authored 13 textbooks. Furthermore, he is well-recognized for his teaching by lectureships and has given 1,560 talks and 76 prestigious named lectures throughout the world.
Dr. Shields has won more than 40 awards. In 2012, the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology established the Jerry A. Shields, MD Lecture to be presented annually at their Congress. In March of 2013 Dr. Shields was awarded the National Physician of the Year Award for Clinical Excellence (top doctor in America) by Castle Connelly Medical, Ltd., New York, N.Y.
Dr. Shields has served on editorial boards in the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Denmark. He has been president of the Macula Society and was the first president of the International Society of Ocular Oncology.
The Academy is pleased to present its highest honor, the Laureate Award, to Dr. Shields.