February 5, 2016

John G. Clarkson, M.D., was awarded the Lucien Howe Medal for his distinguished service in ophthalmology at the May meeting of the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS) in Newport, Rhode Island. The AOS Howe Medal, first awarded in 1922, is one of the highest honors in the field of ophthalmology.

Dr. Clarkson is Executive Director and CEO of the American Board of Ophthalmology and Dean Emeritus and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Florida.

AOS Executive Director Hans E. Grossniklaus, M.D., M.B.A., cited Dr. Clarkson’s substantial contributions to ophthalmology as the basis for his selection. “The recipient of the Howe Medal exemplifies excellence in service to ophthalmology in areas of research, teaching, and patient care,” he said. “Dr. Clarkson’s career has been outstanding in all areas, first as a department chair, then as a dean, and finally as the Executive Director of the American Board of Ophthalmology.”

Under Dr. Clarkson’s leadership, the American Board of Ophthalmology certifies approximately 500 new physicians each year and has grown to more than 16,000 active diplomates in the United States and abroad. Through the Board, Dr. Clarkson participates in quality improvement initiatives across 24 medical specialties as a member of the Executive Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Dr. Clarkson is a past president of AOS and the Macula Society, and remains active in other organizations including the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), and the Retina Society.

His research interests have led to significant roles in projects funded by the National Eye Institute and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Clarkson has authored or co-authored more than 60 published works.

After obtaining an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, Dr. Clarkson earned his medical degree from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Following residency training, he completed fellowships in medical retinal diseases, ophthalmic pathology, and vitreoretinal surgery. In 1991, he was appointed Department Chair at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami before transitioning to Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and, ultimately, to Dean of the university’s Miller School of Medicine. Following a decade of service in this role, he assumed his current leadership post at the American Board of Ophthalmology.

In presenting the Howe Medal to Dr. Clarkson, Chair of the AOS Committee on Prizes George B. Bartley, M.D., said, “[Dr. Clarkson’s] contributions have touched thousands of lives: medical students, residents, fellows, faculty and staff, ABO diplomates, national medical leaders, and of course, his patients. The ripple effect of his work is almost incalculable. And our specialty has benefited both directly and indirectly from his service.”

The American Ophthalmological Society was founded in 1864 to promote excellence in the field and to advance the art and science of ophthalmology. Since 1922, just 80 ophthalmologists have received the Howe Medal, named for noted ophthalmologist Lucien Howe, M.D., who endowed several awards to recognize his peers, of which the AOS Howe Medal is the most celebrated.