A Lifelong Commitment to the Advancement of Ophthalmic Education

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2015

Roger F. Steinert, MD


January 05, 2016

The Academy's Highest Honor

One of the highlights at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology is the opening session that includes the Laureate Recognition Award, presented to one of the most distinguished members of our profession. In 2015, the recognition was for the extraordinary contributions of Bruce E. Spivey, MD.

Dr Spivey began his ophthalmic career in the US Army Medical Corps during the Vietnam era. After Vietnam, a time in which he treated over 1100 civilians with leprosy, he began a lifelong passion for not only medical education but also public health. Dr Spivey obtained a master's degree in ophthalmic science and in medical education, while simultaneously working on a grant on the genetics of strabismus through the National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant Program (NIH R01).

After 16 years at the University of Iowa, Dr Spivey moved to California, becoming the chair of ophthalmology and the dean of the School of Medical Sciences at what became the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

From there, he was chosen to be the first executive vice president and CEO of the Academy when it was divided from otolaryngology. In over 10 years, the Academy grew from four to 118 staff members. He also cocreated the Academy's Foundation.

During this same period, he became the president of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Dr Spivey left the Academy to serve as president and CEO of Northwestern University Healthcare Network in Chicago, and then Columbia Cornell Care in New York City.

Among his other many accomplishments, Dr Spivey recognized the benefits of an independent insurance company for ophthalmology, creating the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company. He also initiated the National Eye Care Project.

Dr Spivey's dedication to international ophthalmology began in the US Army Medical Corps, continued as a delegate to the International Council of Ophthalmology in 1977, and culminated with him serving as president of the International Council of Ophthalmology from 2006 through 2014.

It can truly be said that Dr Spivey came full circle, using his prodigious talents both nationally and as a world leader in international eye education, to lead our mission further.