Our Heritage
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Eyes (Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences)

Our Heritage

The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences was established at Montefiore Medical Center in the late 1930’s with Dr. Samuel Gartner as its first director.  Dr. Max Chamlin developed the ophthalmology program at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and was appointed chair in 1948. These two institutions were formally unified in 1969.

Paul Henkind, MD, was selected as the first chairman of the unified Department, and was instrumental in enhancing the Department’s reputation, particularly in retinal vascular and degenerative diseases. After Dr. Henkind’s death, Dr. Arthur Gold was appointed Acting Chairman until the appointment of a full-time chairman in 1988, Dr. Ronald M. Burde, formerly of the Washington University School of Medicine.  Dr. Burde retired in September 2000.  Dr. Harry M. Engel, Program Director, noted retinal specialist and educator, held the position of Interim Chairman from November 2000 until 2008. The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Allen M. Spiegel, MD, appointed prominent refractive surgeon, stem cell and dry eye researcher Roy S. Chuck, MD, PhD, as Chairman of Opthalmology and Visual Science in 2009. Dr. Chuck was formerly the Tom Clancy Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Refractive Surgery at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The Department has flourished with an expanded full-time faculty, the recruitment of research scientists and the development of a large, dedicated staff of voluntary physicians. The Department is committed to excellence in patient care, residency training and scientific research, with emphasis on humanistic values.