The local and global impact of Hadassah’s Department of Ophthalmology was the theme shared by the international experts who spoke at the June 20th opening of the Centennial Conference, marking the 100th anniversary of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Department of Ophthalmology.
“Your department is a role model for all of us to aspire to,” said Dr. Jesus Vidaurri-Leal, President of the Alumni Association, comprising the hundreds of ophthalmologists who have completed residencies in Jerusalem. In his presentation, Dr. Vidaurri-Leal gave special thanks to the women of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, who brought modern eye care to pre-state Israel.
Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin welcomed the more than 200 participants from 17 countries attending the conference. “From the beginning,” she said, “our doctors, nurses, and technicians provided quality eye-care services to treat and manage a panorama of eye diseases. Although ophthalmology today focuses heavily on technology and data, our doctors haven’t forgotten the human side of medicine—that on the other side of the retinal camera is a worried patient. Our doctors also spend long hours delving into the causes of eye disease and seeking cures through outstanding research. There are still so many mysteries to be solved.”
All of the conference speakers praised former chair of the Ophthalmology Department, Prof. Jacob “Kobi” Pe’er, as one of the giants of ophthalmology. Prof. Pe’er, who passed on the leadership to Prof. Itay Chowers this year, was honored in 2017 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology for his contribution to the prevention of blindness. “While doing his own difficult work on cancer of the eye, he trained the next generation of ophthalmologists to take over,” said Prof. Dina Ben-Yehuda, head of the Department of Hematology and Dean of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School.
Prof. Chowers spoke of the Hadassah spirit that prevails and propels the Hadassah team to succeed despite all odds, to continue to make dreams materialize. “Professionalism, vision, compassion, and outreach are pillars on which we stand,” he emphasized.
You can hear more from Hadassah's newest Director of the School of Ophthalmology; Dr. Itay Chowers on our new podcast - Hadassah on Call: New Frontiers in Medicine