Welcome! We are a group of ophthalmologists committed to advancing health equity for LGBTQ+ persons and equality for LGBTQ+ professionals. With the support of the Academy, our goal is to encourage discourse, build community and create a space to connect around mentorship, research, and advocacy. Here’s our multi-pronged approach to this initiative:
Through The Ophthalmology Community, which the Academy runs, we have created an online network of LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ ally Academy members to network, share content and discuss topics relevant to our community. This includes medical students, residents and practicing physicians. Complete this short application and join our vibrant community.
We aim to connect young trainees and practicing physicians with more-senior LGBTQ+ mentors to help navigate the often-difficult decisions encountered in an ophthalmic career. We have compiled a list of individuals interested in mentoring. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of your objectives to be matched with a mentor.
Educating others about our community is key to improved care. Here are a few selections of published works centered around communication techniques, the disparities encountered by LGBTQ+ patients, and other relevant topics previously discussed by the Academy:
Video: How to Talk to Transgender Patients (November 2018)
Dr. César A. Briceño offers tips on how you can help chip away at the health disparities and stigma that the transgender population faces.
Is It Time to Reconsider Cornea Donation Guidelines? (November 2020)
This EyeNet article summarizes Puente et al’s JAMA Ophthalmology article discussing the federal ban on corneal donation by men who have sex with men.
Status Report for Academy Council Advisory Recommendation: November 2020
20-02: Title: Corneal Donation by Gay Men (PDF)
The Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons introduced a Council Advisory Recommendation requesting that Academy lobby the FDA to revise its policy restricting corneal donation by men who have sex with men. The Academy Board of Trustees endorsed that proposal, and page 4 of this PDF describes Academy’s most recent plans for addressing this issue.
How Wide Is the Academy’s Lane? (March 2020)
In recent years, Academy members have written requesting that the organization formally issue a policy statement on subjects as diverse as vaccination, women’s reproductive issues, gender-based harassment, LGBTQ issues, climate change, landmines, sex trafficking and immigration (to name just a few). Every time an issue comes up, the question arises, “Is this an appropriate issue for an Academy policy?” Put another way: “How wide is our lane?”
We are lucky to have many allies who seek to join our goal of creating a more inclusive field. The Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program is a partnership between the Academy and Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology that serves to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in ophthalmology by connecting underrepresented students with mentorship, career planning, networking opportunities and educational resources. Several of our group members participate as mentors.
The Academy has several task forces on addressing disparities. These include the Task Force on Organizational Diversity and Inclusion and the Task Force on Disparities in Eye Care.
Reach out to LGBTQ@aao.org for specific questions.
The Academy LGBTQ+ Community Leaders
Peter Quiros, MD – Neuro-ophthalmology, UCLA
Valerie Biousse, MD – Neuro-ophthalmology, Emory University
Alexander Khammar, MD – Pediatric Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin
César Briceño, MD – Oculoplastic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania
Jessica Weinstein, MD – Vitreoretinal Surgery, University of Kentucky
Michael Puente, MD – Pediatric Ophthalmology, University of Colorado
David Ramirez, MD – Resident, University of Iowa