Dr. Richard K. Parrish, II, Named Editor-in-Chief of American Journal of Ophthalmology

Richard K. Parrish, II, M.D., has been named Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, the nation’s oldest peer-reviewed scientific publication directed to ophthalmologists and visual science specialists.

A world-renowned glaucoma specialist, dedicated scientist and educator, Parrish holds the Edward W.D. Norton Chair in Ophthalmology. He joined the faculty of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in 1982, and has served the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as Professor, Residency Program Director and the third Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology. He is currently the Associate Dean for Medical Education, Chairman of the Graduate Medical Education Committee, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Designated Institutional Official for the Jackson Memorial Hospital/Jackson Health System.

Parrish succeeds Bascom Palmer alumnus Thomas J. Liesegang, M.D. (resident, chief resident 1976), as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Ophthalmology (AJO). Bascom Palmer’s Janet L. Davis, M.D., and David S. Greenfield, M.D., serve as executive editors of the AJO; Harry W. Flynn, Jr., M.D., Byron Lam, M.D., Sander Dubovy, M.D., and David T. Tse, M.D., are members of the editorial board.

Parrish served as President of the American Ophthalmological Society and councilor to the American Academy of Ophthalmology from the American Glaucoma Society. A widely published author and internationally recognized speaker who has delivered 35 named lectures, Parrish also served as a member of the editorial board of Archives of Ophthalmology. He edited the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s Atlas of Ophthalmology, a comprehensive ophthalmic text that set a standard for ophthalmic education. His academic career includes more than 100 peer-reviewed original scientific publications and many more chapters and abstracts. He is a skilled editorialist who has contributed to the national narrative on innovative glaucoma surgical procedures and recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force on glaucoma screening.

His research interests have focused on improving patient care through clinical trials in glaucoma, a blinding condition that most commonly affects older adults. In 1994, he was named Vice Chair and a Principal Investigator of the National Eye Institute’s sponsored Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS and OHTS II) and will serve in this capacity for OHTS III, a 20-year follow-up investigation. This landmark study determined if the risk of developing glaucoma could be reduced in patients with elevated intraocular pressures but normal optic nerves and visual fields by using pressure-lowering eye drops.

He was the Project Chairman of the National Eye Institute’s Fluorouracil Filtering Surgery Study (FFSS), the first multicenter randomized clinical trial in glaucoma surgery in the United States, and served as the Principal Investigator of the Optic Disc Reading Centers for the National Eye Institute sponsored OHTS and OHTS II, the Collaborative Initial Glaucoma Treatment Study and the Advanced Imaging for Glaucoma Study. The University of Miami has received more than $4.5 million of National Institutes of Health funding through his grants. Improving visual health care delivery to South Florida’s Haitian-American community is his current research focus.

His early preclinical studies on the modulation of wound healing after glaucoma filtering surgery in experimental models provided the foundation for the randomized clinical trial fluorouracil and his interest in how to measure and improve outcomes of glaucoma surgery. “Visual impairment, visual functioning and quality of life assessments in patients with glaucoma,” his American Ophthalmological Society thesis, described the patients’ perspective on how glaucoma affects their daily lives.

At the scientific level, Parrish has served three times on National Institutes of Health special review panels. The American Board of Ophthalmology sought his expertise to serve on critical committees for developing its Maintenance of Certification programs. At the request of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the world’s largest vision research organization with more than 12,000 members, he served as a member of the Women’s and Diversity Issues Committee. In 2013 he was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recognized his accomplishments at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Chicago as the “Guest of Honor,” a rare privilege that is bestowed annually by the Academy’s president on only three of its more than 15,000 members.

Parrish has played a monumental role in the education of ophthalmologists throughout the world. Academic ophthalmologists from Europe and Asia were in need of the development of widely accepted goals and objectives regarding the curriculum for international medical student education. At the personal request of Bradley Straatsma, M.D., J.D., Professor Emeritus of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Institute at UCLA, Parrish assumed responsibility for completion of this important project. By surveying more than 100 national and supranational groups and analyzing their responses, he developed an internationally accepted curriculum for medical student education based on a consensus of participating societies under the auspices of the International Congress of Ophthalmology. Results of this work were published in 2006 and he received a Medal of Achievement from the World Ophthalmology Congress in Brazil that year.

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