Straatsma Award for Excellence in Resident Education

Honoring and celebrating an outstanding Program Director in ophthalmology, the award recognizes the critical role of the Program Director and celebrates the contributions of the awardee.

The Straatsma Award for Excellence in Resident Education (the “Straatsma Award”) was established through the generosity of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) and private funds to recognize and celebrate an outstanding Program Director in ophthalmology. The award carries the name and honors the accomplishments of Bradley R. Straatsma, MD, JD, former Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA and former Director of the Jules Stein Eye Institute. The award is presented annually at the Annual Meetings of the AAO and the AUPO and includes a cash prize.

The nomination period for 2020 is open until April 15.

Submit Nomination

2019 Straatsma Award Recipient

Susan Culican, MD, PhD
Susan Culican, MD, PhD
University of Minnesota
Graduate Medical Education

Susan Culican, MD, PhD is the Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Susan Culican served as the residency program director at Washington University in St. Louis for 15 years. She is a product of Wash U having received her BA, MD and PhD there. She stayed on at Wash U for Ophthalmology residency training where she enjoyed the benefit of mentorship from Drs. Mort Smith, Michael Kass and Russ Van Gelder. Following residency, she was selected to serve as chief resident, prior to completing her pediatric ophthalmology fellowship at Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Predictably, she joined the faculty at Wash U in 2004.

Dr. Culican started her academic career as a clinician-scientist focused on discovering the cellular mechanisms that defined the critical period of visual development. Early in her career she realized that ophthalmology education, like ophthalmology clinical practice, could benefit from data-driven approaches. She has since applied her bench science skills to scrutinize and analyze what we do and how we do it in resident education to bring transparency and rigor to the understanding of how we measure and track resident performance throughout residency training.

Dr. Culican served on numerous education and quality committees at Wash U and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Nationally, she has served on AUPO and ACGME councils, committees and subcommittees, including most recently the Milestones 2.0 work group. She is a reviewer for many journals. Notably she is the Section Editor for Pediatric Ophthalmology for the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Award Information

Eligibility

Nominees for the Straatsma Award must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be an Associate Member of AUPO and a Member or Fellow of the AAO
  • Have served as a Program Director at an ACGME-accredited AUPO member program for a minimum of 3 years
  • Currently serve as the Program Director
  • Embody the qualities of:
    • Commitment to resident education
    • Dedication to the residency training process
    • Active engagement in program leadership
    • Innovation in and/or advancement of residency education in Ophthalmology at the Regional, National or AUPO level
  • Be the consummate teacher/mentor/advisor

Special consideration in the selection process will be given to:

  • current activities, not simply to length of service or to contributions made many years previously
  • nominees who have published in peer-reviewed literature on subjects related to residency education
  • innovative work
  • those who have achieved a leadership role in medical education
  • achievement in mentoring other educators/future educators

Nominations

  • Candidates must be nominated by their Department Chair
  • The Application Packet must include the following items (10 pt. font or greater):
    • A letter (not to exceed three pages) from the Chair summarizing the Nominee’s special qualifications for the Award and verifying that, if awarded
      • The cash prize will be awarded directly to the Awardee and not counted against normal compensation or deposited in department accounts
      • The Awardee will attend both the Annual Meetings of the AAO and the AUPO to receive the Award
    • Two (2) supporting letters (each not to exceed two pages) from faculty, current residents, or past residents who trained under the Nominee
    • A copy of the Nominee’s current Curriculum Vitae
    • A signed letter from the Nominee (not to exceed two pages) summarizing the Nominee’s accomplishments as Program Director and plans for future activities. The Nominee must also agree in the letter to address the AUPO Annual Meeting on a topic related to residency training if chosen as the Awardee
  • The application packet must be compiled by the Department Chair and submitted electronically by April 15.

Selection Process

  • All completed applications will be reviewed by a Selection Committee and a recommendation forwarded to the AUPO Board of Trustees for approval and the AAO Board of Trustees for approval.
  • The Awardee will be notified in July.

Past Straatsma Award Recipients

2018

Preston Blomquist, MD
Preston Blomquist, MD
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

2017

Shahzad Mian, MD
Shahzad Mian, MD
University of Michigan
Kellogg Eye Center

2016

Steven Gedde, MD
Steven Gedde, MD
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

2015

Tara Uhler, MD Thomas Jefferson University Wills Eye Hospital
Tara Uhler, MD
Thomas Jefferson University
Wills Eye Hospital

2014

Laura L. Wayman, MD Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Vanderbilt Eye Institute
Laura L. Wayman, MD
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Vanderbilt Eye Institute

2013

Andreas K. Lauer, MD Oregon Health and Sciences University Casey Eye Institute
Andreas K. Lauer, MD
Oregon Health and Sciences University
Casey Eye Institute

2012

Thomas A. Oetting, MD University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Thomas A. Oetting, MD
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

2011

- Richard A. Harper, MD University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Richard A. Harper, MD
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

2010

Maria M. Aaron, MD Emory University School of Medicine Emory Eye Center
Maria M. Aaron, MD
Emory University School of Medicine
Emory Eye Center

2009

Mark S. Juzych, MD  Wayne State University Kresge Eye Institute
Mark S. Juzych, MD
Wayne State University
Kresge Eye Institute

2008

Paul D. Langer, MD New Jersey Medical School
Paul D. Langer, MD
New Jersey Medical School

2007

James P. Dunn Jr., MD Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Wilmer Eye Institute
James P. Dunn Jr., MD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Wilmer Eye Institute

2006

Karl C. Golnik, MD, Med University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Cincinnati Eye Institute
Karl C. Golnik, MD, Med
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Cincinnati Eye Institute

2005

Anthony C. Arnold, MD University of California, Los Angeles Jules Stein Eye Institute
Anthony C. Arnold, MD
University of California, Los Angeles
Jules Stein Eye Institute

2004

Nicholas J. Volpe, MD University of Pennsylvania Health Systems Scheie Eye Institute
Nicholas J. Volpe, MD
University of Pennsylvania Health Systems
Scheie Eye Institute

2003

Alfredo A. Sadun, MD, PhD University of Southern California Doheny Eye Institute
Alfredo A. Sadun, MD, PhD
University of Southern California
Doheny Eye Institute