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Shlomit Schaal appointed chair of ophthalmology


Shlomit Schaal, MD, PhD

Shlomit Schaal, MD, PhD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center, Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, has announced.

“Dr. Schaal brings an ambitious vision for the department to enhance patient care, education and research,” said Dr. Flotte. “She will broaden the scope of clinical services offered to residents of central New England at our academic medical center’s main campuses and at our community providers, through the recruitment of fellowship-trained subspecialists.”

Dr. Schaal, who starts next fall, is leaving her post as a clinician-scientist specializing in the cutting-edge medical and surgical treatment of complex vitreoretinal diseases at the University of Louisville. She earned her undergraduate, medical and doctoral degrees from Technion Institute of Technology in Israel, graduating as the valedictorian of both her undergraduate and medical school classes, before going on to an ophthalmology residency at Israel’s Rambam Medical Center and fellowships in vitreoretinal research and vitreoretinal surgery at the University of Louisville.  Her research focuses on visionary translational projects, in collaboration with bioengineers. Recently, her team developed a novel automatic algorithm for the early detection of subtle changes in the retina of diabetic patients.

In addition to her clinical practice and research, Schaal serves as the director of the retina service, and the director of the fellowship program in vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at the University of Louisville. She is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and will be appointed as a professor at UMMS.

Schaal has built an international reputation and actively serves on the Program Committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Translational Science Working Group, and the Professional Development and Education Committee for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and six book chapters, and has received numerous awards, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award, the American Society of Retina Specialists Senior Honor Award, the MOSAIC Award and the ARVO/Alcon Clinician-Scientist Research Award. Since 2013, Schaal has been selected every year as one of the Best Doctors in America.

Flotte expressed his gratitude to George Asdourian, MD, who has exhibited distinguished leadership during his tenure as interim chair of cphthalmology; and to Max Rosen, MD, MPH, who led the search committee that identified a very strong pool of candidates to lead this department.