Alice R. McPherson, M.D. (USA)

  21 April 2014

Dr. McPherson is an accomplished educator, scholar, leader and pioneer, dedicated to the study and treatment of retina diseases


Dr. McPherson received her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and completed a retina fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. She is a professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine specializing in macular degeneration and vitreoretinal diseases and surgery.

Her scientific contributions to ophthalmology began with pioneering scleral buckling procedures, cryotherapy and xenon and laser therapy in the treatment of retinal diseases. She was first to document treatment of diabetic retinopathy with photocoagulation of the retina. In early 1970 Dr McPherson's preliminary work led to a large double-blind National Institute of Health Diabetic Retinopathy study, establishing the value of laser therapy in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. She is a Fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the International College of Surgeons.

In 1969 she founded the Retina Research Foundation (RRF), Houston's leading eye research organization dedicated to promoting basic research to eradicate retinal diseases. To accomplish this in 1973 the Retina Research Foundation started to fund pilot research studies and in 1976 began to collaborate with the finest organizations worldwide and to support an exemplary variety of programs in retina research around the world:

  • Established ongoing studies conducted by internationally recognized award recipients;
  • Research Chairs and Professorships at leading universities and institutions;
  • International fellowships that provide advanced subspecialty training to young scientists who return to their home countries following training;
  • Young scientists development and career advancement programs.

The collaborating organizations beginning in 1973 until present are Baylor College of Medicine, the Retina Society, University of Wisconsin, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, International Society for Eye Research, Schepens International Society, American Society of Retina Specialists, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Macula Society, Club Jules Gonin, Swiss Ophthalmological Society, and International Council of Ophthalmology. Retina research sites have been Texas 11, national 46, international 30, Pan American 21.

Dr. McPherson's extraordinary dedication and leadership have benefited professional organizations. She has served as founding President of the University of Wisconsin Ophthalmology Alumni Association, president of the Houston Ophthalmology Society, second vice—president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), vice-regent in Texas for the International College of Surgeons, trustee and vice president of Program Development for the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and member of the Planned Giving Committee of the Academy, Fellowship Committee of the ICOF and Nominating Committee of the University of Wisconsin Foundation and membership on many boards. A lectureship was established in her honor in 1994 at the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. McPherson has received numerous national and international awards including Honor Awards from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, First Everett Veirs Lecture at Scott and White Clinic, the Benjamin Boyd Humanitarian Award at the Pan-American Ophthalmology Congress (PAAO) in 2001, Inaugural Member Visionary Society at Gold Member Level from the AAO in 2004, and Lifetime member FAAO Honorary Board of Trustees.

She was honored guest at the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology at their meeting in Santiago, Chile in 2005. The McPherson House – Student Learning Community was opened at the University of Wisconsin, and in 2006 she was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Eye Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. McPherson became a trustee at Schepens Eye Research Institute. In 2009 she was an invited lecturer at the European Society of Ophthalmology in Amsterdam and was Editors Choice Symposium Discussant at the AAO meeting in San Francisco. In 2011 she became a member of the Circle of Vision at the Gold Level at the AAO.

In 2012 Dr. McPherson was honored by the renaming of the Eye Research Institute of Wisconsin, Madison to McPherson Eye Research Institute. She also received the 2012 Harvard Medical School Distinguished Alumni Professional Achievement Award. The Pan-American Ophthalmology Foundation has invited her as the Guest of Honor to attend the 30th Pan American Congress of Ophthalmology, August 7-10, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The International Council of Ophthalmology has elected Dr. McPherson to receive the Gonin Medal in 2014 at the World Ophthalmology Congress in Japan.

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