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  • Robert E. Wiggins Jr., MD, MHA

    I am humbled and honored to be nominated to serve as the secretary for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. To most members, the annual meeting is one of the most valuable components of their membership, and it would therefore be an incredible privilege for me to serve the members in this important role.

    I earned my medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and after my residency at the Cleveland Clinic, I completed my cornea fellowship at the Proctor Foundation/University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). I then returned to the Cleveland Clinic to start my academic career. After five years, I returned to UCSF, where I served an additional five years on faculty. I was then appointed professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where I served for nine years. Recently, I returned to the University of Pennsylvania as the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and director of the Scheie Eye Institute.

    Throughout the many changes in my career path, one constant that I have always had was my involvement with the Academy. I have served on several committees, including the Special Interest Team, the Self-Assessment Committee (chair), the Ophthalmic News and Education (ONE®) Network (12 years, including six as cornea chair), the Research, Regulations and External Affairs Committee and the Awards Committee. I have also served two terms on the Academy Council, and I currently serve on the editorial boards of Ophthalmology®, Ophthalmology® Science, and EyeNet® Magazine. 

    Most pertinent to this nomination, however, is my extensive involvement with the Academy’s annual meeting: I have served on the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) since 2010, beginning as a reviewer, then as a subcommittee member and chair of the cornea subcommittee and currently as chair of the AMPC. I also served as associate secretary for the annual meeting program and as a director for Cornea Subspecialty Day for three years.

    As secretary for the annual meeting, my role would be to ensure that it provides programming that is the very best opportunity for ophthalmologists around the world to update their knowledge and skills in ways that best fit their learning styles. With my deep understanding of the AMPC workings, along with my experiences working with the wonderful Academy staff and outstanding member volunteers on the AMPC and on Subspecialty Day, I am confident that I will be able to continue to assess the educational needs of our members to ensure the very best programming for the annual meeting that is relevant, innovative and exciting. 

    It has been a privilege to serve on the AMPC for the last 13 years, the last few of which have challenged us to pivot and think outside of the box to adapt to rapidly evolving circumstances. I would be excited to continue my service with this talented team, and I thank my colleagues for the honor of being considered for this position.