UCSF Ophthalmologist Receives Jose Rizal International Medal

December 01, 2010
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Dr. Richard L. Abbott, the Thomas W. Boyden Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at UCSF and and president-elect of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Jose Rizal International Medal from the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO).

The Jose Rizal Medal is given to an outstanding ophthalmologist who has demonstrated excellence in ophthalmology in the Asia-Pacific region.

Abbott, who received the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Lifetime Achievement Honor Award in 2006, has worked to advance ophthalmic education in the Asia-Pacific region. Most recently, Abbott spearheaded a seven-year effort resulting in the Chinese Ministry of Health endorsing the American Academy of Ophthalmology's practice guidelines as the national standard for eye care in China. It is the first time China has mandated standards of patient care and professional training for any medical specialty.

"I am honored that the APAO has chosen to award me the 2010 Jose Rizal International Medal," said Abbott, who is also research associate at the UCSF-affiliated Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology. "The APAO is an important and globally respected ophthalmic organization. I am truly humbled to be counted as a recipient of the Jose Rizal Medal and look forward to maintaining a strong relationship with ophthalmologists in the Asia-Pacific region in the years to come."

The award was presented during the APAO/AAO Joint Meeting in Beijing in September.

"This prestigious award is conferred upon outstanding personalities from outside the Asia-Pacific region who have made exceptionally valuable contributions to ophthalmology within the Asia-Pacific area," said Dr. Dennis Lam, secretary general of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology.

About Richard Abbott

Richard L. Abbott received his B.S. degree in biochemistry from Tufts University in 1967 and his M.D. degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine in 1971. After completing his internship at Los Angeles County Hospital, he spent two years in the Indian Public Health Service, teaching medics and running a community health clinic on the Navajo reservation.

Abbott then pursued his ophthalmology training with a residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and a fellowship in corneal and external diseases at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, where he was awarded both a Heed and a Fight for Sight Fellowship grant. In 1978, he returned to San Francisco and practiced for 17 years as a consultant and then director of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service at California Pacific Medical Center.

He joined the full-time faculty at UCSF as professor and co-director of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service in 1995.

Abbott is a director emeritus of the American Board of Ophthalmology and the Castroviejo Cornea Society, as well as a former member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Board of Trustees, where he served as senior secretary for Ophthalmic Practice.

He also has served as a member of the Food and Drug Administration's Ophthalmic Devices Panel and the National Eye Institute coordinating committee for the development of a patient assessment instrument for refractive error correction.