Harvard expert in glaucoma Douglas Rhee, MD, named Chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center

CLEVELAND -- After an extensive national search, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals (UH) CaseMedical Center have named Douglas Rhee, MD, an accomplished glaucoma specialist, eye surgeon and researcher, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

Dr. Rhee is expected to start in September and appointment becomes official after the Case Western Reserve board of trustees provides its approval. He succeeds renowned cornea specialist Jonathan Lass, MD, who served as department chair for almost two decades.

Dr. Rhee has been with Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary since 2005. He is an expert in both adult and childhood glaucomas. He specializes in complex and high-risk cases with an interest in rare clinical syndromes as well as the more common forms of glaucoma.

“Over the years our Department of Ophthalmology has distinguished itself for cutting-edge research that engages faculty across multiple disciplines,” said Pamela Davis, MD, PhD, Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Renowned for his own work in glaucoma, Dr. Rhee understands the ingredients of successful research programs, and possesses the leadership skills and experience to advance initiatives here.”

His scientific research aims to determine the cellular and molecular causes of glaucoma, with an ultimate goal of developing directed gene therapy as a viable treatment. In addition, Dr. Rhee’s clinical research interests include evaluating the outcomes of both traditional and novel/advanced surgical procedures to develop new therapies.

“Dr. Rhee is an outstanding clinician, researcher and educator,” said Fred C. Rothstein, MD, President of UH Case Medical Center. “He is an internationally known leader in his field and as chairman he will further enhance our Department of Ophthalmology.”

Between 2007 and 2012, Dr. Rhee served in a succession of leadership: Medical Director of Massachusetts Eye and Ear locations in Stonehamand East Bridgewater; Medical Director of Strategic Network Development; and Associate Chief of Operations and Practice Development. In 2009, Dr. Rhee became Vice President of the Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. In 2012, he was named President of the Korean American Ophthalmologic Society.

Dr. Rhee has received the competitive American Glaucoma Society’s Clinician-Scientist award in 2004 and 2005. In 2008, the American Glaucoma Society honored him again with the Mid-Career Physician-Scientist Award. That same year, he was awarded the competitive RPB Physician-Scientist Award from the Research to Prevent Blindness organization. These awards provided support for his research into eye pressure regulation. His research has been funded by various public and private sources, including the National Eye Institute and Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund.

Dr. Rhee is an accomplished writer and educator. He has authored, co-authored or edited several books in the field of ophthalmology. In addition, he has published approximately 65 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and co-authored more than 40 book chapters. Dr. Rhee first served as a consultant for the Physician’s Desk Reference for Ophthalmology from 1997 for five years and then became its lead medical editor in 2002. He reviews for several ophthalmic journals, and in 2006 began serving as a contributing editor for the trade publication Ocular Surgery News. He has participated on numerous committees developing the medical education content for meetings of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and the American Glaucoma Society. He also has organized and led numerous regional meetings.

Dr. Rhee was born in Buffalo, New York and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received his medical degree at the University of Michigan Medical School followed by an internship at the University of Michigan-affiliated Oakwood Hospital (Dearborn, Mich.).

Dr. Rhee completed his ophthalmology residency at Wills Eye Hospital (Philadelphia) where he also served as co-chief resident. He won a competitive Heed Fellow award and completed a clinical glaucoma fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (Miami, Fla.) and a post-doctoral laboratory fellowship at the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Md.) investigating the molecular biology of intraocular pressure regulation. He is board certified in ophthalmology.

"With one of the leading vision science research institutes in the country, a prominent group of clinicians, and an outstanding residency program, the ophthalmology department at UH/CWRU is a fantastic group that is poised for even greater accomplishment,” says Dr. Rhee. “The University Hospitals network delivers the highest level of patient care and is very well-positioned for the future. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has only furthered its long tradition of pioneering, patient-oriented and compassionate medical training along with world-renowned research. I can't be more enthusiastic about joining such a vibrant and innovative team and look forward to helping UH/CWRU deliver the best eye care for today and discover the treatments of tomorrow."

Among the nation’s leading academic medical centers, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, a nationally recognized leader in medical research and education.

Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Nine Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the School of Medicine.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 MD and MD/PhD students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report's "Guide to Graduate Education."

The School of Medicine is affiliated with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002. case.edu/medicine.

About University Hospitals

University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of hospitals, outpatient centers and primary care physicians. At the core of our health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research centers of excellence in the nation and the world, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics and spine, radiology and radiation oncology, neurosurgery and neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, organ transplantation and human genetics. Its main campus includes the internationally celebrated UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. University Hospitals Case Medical Center is the 2012 recipient of the American Hospital Association – McKesson Quest for Quality Prize for its leadership and innovation in quality improvement and safety. University Hospitals Case Medical Center is one of only 18 hospitals in the country to have been named to U.S. News & World Report’s most exclusive rankings list: the Best Hospitals 2013-14 Honor Roll. For more information, go to www.uhhospitals.org

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