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Shlomit Schaal, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

Brief Bio

Shlomit Schaal, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is a clinician-scientist specializing in the cutting-edge medical and surgical treatment of complex vitreoretinal diseases. 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. She served on the faculty of the University of Louisville as the Director of Retina, and the Director of Vitreo-Retinal Fellowship, before being appointed as the Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Massachusetts. Her research focuses on visionary translational projects in collaboration with bioengineers. She is the inventor of several US patents, of which some have been licensed and commercialized. Recently, her team developed a novel automatic algorithm for the early detection of subtle changes in the retina of diabetic patients.

Dr. Schaal has published extensively in the field of vitreo-retinal diseases and surgery. She serves on the editorial board of the journal “Retina”. Dr. Schaal is dedicated to enhancing the teaching and education of the next generation of ophthalmologists-clinician-scientists, and therefore actively serves on the Program Committees of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the New England Ophthalmological Society (NEOS), and the Translational Science Working Group (ARVO). Dr. Schaal also currently serves as the Chair of the Professional Development and Education Committee (PDEC) for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), and as the Inaugural Chair of the Website & Communication Committee of the Retina Society. She is part of the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) team that sets the standards for the written board examinations for ophthalmologists.

Dr. Schaal is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, book chapters, and served as the editor of the textbook “Cystoid Macular Edema – Medical and Surgical Management” (Springer). Dr. Schaal has received numerous awards for academic excellence, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award, The American Society of Retina Specialists Senior Honor Award, the MOSAIC Award, The American Medical Association (AMA) Inspirational Physician Award, and the ARVO/Alcon Clinician-Scientist Research Award.

Dr. Schaal serves as a mentor for the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program of AAO, and served as a member of the Under Represented Minorities (URM) Recommendation Prioritization Workgroup at UMass. For that work, she won the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity in 2018. Dr. Schaal is committed to serving the community and is therefore involved in numerous initiatives to increase the health and wellbeing of populations, including serving as the chair of the multicultural women’s health summit in Worcester, MA. Dr. Schaal is a sought-after speaker and is frequently invited to give scientific, business, and leadership talks all over the globe. In addition to her professorship at UMass, she also serves as a teaching faculty member at Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Macy’s Institute, and the Faculty Leadership Development Seminar of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Clinical Expertise

  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Retinal Vascular Diseases (Vein and Artery Occlusion, Retinal Vasculitis)
  • Retina and Vitreous Complex Surgery
  • Retinal Detachment Repair
  • Macular Hole
  • Retinal Disorders
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa and Retinal Degenerations

Research Interests

  • Vitreoretinal Diseases/Surgery
  • Development of automated algorithms for standardized OCT interpretation
  • Oxygen Induced Cataracts
  • Association of Sleep Apnea and Pulmonary Disorders with Retinal Disorders

 Academic Rank

  • Professor and Department Chair
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • UMass Memorial Medical Center

Education/Medical School

  • B.Sc. Medical Sciences Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel                       
    Valedictorian; Summa cum Laude
  • M.D. Medical Sciences (Technion Israel Institute of Technology), Haifa, Israel Valedictorian; Summa cum Laude
  • Ph.D. Medical Sciences (Technion Israel Institute of Technology ), Haifa, Israel; Summa cum Laude

Ophthalmology Residency

  • Department of Ophthalmology, Rambam Medical Center,Affiliated with Technion- Israel Institute of Technology.Bruce Rappaport School of Medicine, Haifa, Israel

Research Fellowship

  • Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Research  Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA                                                

Clinical Fellowship

  • Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery Department of Ophthalmology, University of Louisville School of  Medicine Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Board Certification

  • American Board of Ophthalmology
  • Israel Board of Ophthalmology

State Licensure

  • Massachusetts
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Israel

Professional Societies and Affiliations

  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AΩA)
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS)
  • The Retina Society
  • The Macula Society
  • American Uveitis Society (AUS)
  • International Society for Eye Research (ISER)
  • Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB)
  • New England Ophthalmological Society (NEO)

Selected Honors and Awards (out of more than 50 scientific awards)

  • Foulex Award for Outstanding Doctoral Candidates. Israel Academy of Sciences, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Best Paper Award, Retina Section (American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), USA
  • National Eye Institute  Outstanding Paper Award  
    The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • Consecutively listed: Marquis Who’s Who in America
  • Consecutively listed: Leading Health Professionals of the World
  • Consecutively listed: Leading Health Professionals of the World
  • ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award. ARVO Foundation for Eye Research (AFER)
  • Service Award for Outstanding Service as a Clinical Section Editor. The American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), USA
  • Honor Award for Outstanding Scientific Original Contribution.The American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), USA
  • Consecutively listed: Best Doctors in America
  • MOSAIC Award (Multicultural Opportunities for Success and Achievement In our Community)
  • Senior Honor Award  (For Outstanding Service to the Society’s Scientific and Educational Program Original papers, The American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), USA
  • Consecutively listed: The Leading Physicians of the World. International Association of Ophthalmologists (IAO)
  • Retina Surgical Film Festival Award “Doctor’s Choice” The American Society of Retina Specialists, USA
  • Best Research Poster Award. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), USA
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award
  • Award for Faculty Excellence - Patent & License Holders
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Outstanding Faculty Award
  • Best Mentor Award Ophthalmology Women in Louisville (OWL), USA 
  • Patrick R. O’Conor Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award    

Languages

  • English, Hebrew

Hobbies

  • Dr. Schaal is a competitive swimmer who competes at the regional and national level. She serves as an active member of the United States Masters Swimming (USMS) Science and Medicine committee. Visit website for more info http://www.usms.org

     

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