The renowned ophthalmologist Kathryn A. Colby, MD, PhD, the Elisabeth J. Cohen, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology in and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, was awarded the Suzanne Véronneau-Troutman Award in recognition of her work to advance the position of women in the field.
The award, given annually by Women in Ophthalmology since 1997, acknowledges Dr. Colby’s longtime leadership as one of the few female chairs of ophthalmology in the nation, her work mentoring medical students, ophthalmology residents, and fellows as well as practicing ophthalmologists, and her lifelong efforts to enhance diversity in ophthalmology.
“It’s such an honor to be recognized by a group of peers doing incredible work in the field to boost the equity and diversity in leadership that better serves our patients,” said Dr. Colby, who is also director of the NYU Langone Eye Center. “Despite efforts by many people, women still lag behind in ophthalmology in many ways, including academic promotion, salary, awards, and department and society leadership. Enhancing equity, inclusion, and diversity in ophthalmology is vitally important for the future success of our field.”
Ophthalmology has made strides in growing the percentage of women becoming resident physicians in the field. In 2000, 29 percent of ophthalmology residents were female, compared to 41 percent today. However, women are underrepresented in senior academic and leadership positions. In 2015, when Dr. Colby first became a chair, there were only 5 other female chairs in the United States (out of a total of approximately 120 chairs). Currently, there are approximately 20 women chairs, representing just 16 percent of all chair positions.