David W. Parke II, MD

SAN FRANCISCO—The American Academy of Ophthalmology chief executive officer David W. Parke II, MD, has informed the Academy’s board of trustees that he is stepping down. Parke told the board that “leadership transitions are healthy and important and that the organization is in a strong position with robust programs, strong governance and financial integrity,” according to an Academy statement. “Under his leadership, the Academy has enjoyed tremendous success and weathered daunting challenges, growing stronger every year of his tenure,” Tamara R. Fountain, MD, president of the Academy, said.
“From the founding of the IRIS Registry and the creation of the new public museum to leading the Academy and its members through COVID-19, he has embodied and vastly expanded the strengths of the organization.”
Among the highlights of Parke’s tenure are:

  • Developing the Academy’s IRIS Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight), the nation's first—and now the world’s largest—comprehensive eye disease registry. It has amassed to date data on nearly 60 million patients and 350 million patient visits.
  • Raising an unprecedented amount of funding to support the profession, including the first publicly accessible museum dedicated to vision and eye health, the Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye.
  • Launching the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program to increase diversity in ophthalmology by helping students underrepresented in medicine learn about ophthalmology and become more competitive ophthalmology residency applicants.
“Helping to lead the American Academy of Ophthalmology and serve my colleagues and their patients has been, and always will be, the highlight of my professional career,” noted Dr. Parke. “It is an honor to work with the dedicated professionals who staff the Academy and who volunteer in its initiatives. I couldn’t be prouder of the work they do and its impact. I pledge to remain active in whatever way best serves the organization and my beloved profession.”
In the coming weeks, Dr. Fountain will convene a committee and launch the search, with the expectation of installing a new CEO before the end of the year. The committee is looking for an ophthalmologist member who will preserve the culture of the organization while charting new paths forward for the profession.