Patricia A. D’Amore, PhD, MBA, FARVO, the Charles L. Schepens Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), was selected for the prestigious HMS William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award. This award is one of three Excellence in Mentoring awards established by the Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership at HMS. Each year, only 18 out of more than 18,000 HMS faculty members are recognized with an Excellence award.
An internationally recognized expert in vascular growth and development, Dr. D’Amore’s passionate pursuit of finding cures for blinding retinal diseases is matched only by her long-standing commitment to nurturing quality mentoring relationships. Over the last two decades, she has mentored more than 100 trainees, and supported many more in their career development goals― while striving to make the field of science more accessible to a diverse population, especially women and minorities. Many of her trainees have gone on to become leading experts in the field, including seven who are now full Professors, and eight who are Senior Scientists at companies such as Genzyme, Novartis and Roche.
“Dr. D'Amore has shown an extraordinary lifetime of dedication to mentoring, staunchly supporting and advancing the careers of her trainees, and opening up the field retinal science to a more diverse population especially women and minorities,” said her anonymous nominator for this award. “Her impressive and dynamic commitment to the advancement of trainees and faculty extends far beyond her academic and research appointments at HMS and Schepens. She has shaped the career paths of future leaders in research and academic pursuits, and she remains one of my most trusted personal and professional advisors.”
One of her mentees is Joseph Arboleda-Velasquez, MD, PhD, who is now an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS. "The most profound impact Pat has had in my career is that she set a high bar for what it means to be a mentor," said Dr. Arboleda-Velasquez. "I feel extremely lucky to have benefited so much and for so long from her mentoring and I feel inspired to be like her. Now, I am a mentor myself and have many research assistants, graduate students, and postdocs in my lab and I know they expect great things from me.”
Dr. D’Amore also works with colleague David Hunter, MD, PhD, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, to oversee the HMS Ophthalmology faculty mentoring program. This program matches faculty with one or more senior members of the department who provide guidance, advice and encouragement to their younger colleagues.
Dr. D’Amore is a member of The Academy at HMS, an organization that aims to advance the training of future physicians by supporting the educational activities of the most effective and innovative teachers. In 2008, she became active in the Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (HGWISE) mentoring program, matching PhD students with women faculty members across scientific disciplines. She also serves on several committees at HMS that promote educational and research opportunities for established and future scientists, including as the Chair of the Faculty Committee on Scholarship in Medicine. In 2006, she received the Harvard Medical School A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award and in 2013 the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard University.
According to another nominator, “Pat has made mentoring a way of life. I met her 12 years ago and since then she has become a mentor, teacher, principal investigator and later sponsor of my nascent independent career. Pat is selfless, honest, and adheres to a strong code of professional ethics. She leads by example and sets a high standard for us to aspire. I know that she has never benefited in any way from spending time with me, yet she is always extremely generous in giving advice. I always knew that I could count on her.”
Among her many leadership roles, Dr. D’Amore is Director of Research at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear where she has chaired the Department’s Training Committee for 10 years, and is instrumental in shaping institutional mentoring goals. She is currently Vice Chair for Basic Research and Co-director of the Age-related Macular Degeneration Center of Excellence for HMS Ophthalmology.