Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Sherleen Chen, MD, received this year's Simmons Lessell Excellence in Education Award. Presented during our clinical graduation ceremony on June 17, 2021, the award recognizes faculty who have made—and continue to make—sustained and profound contributions to education—just like Dr. Simmons Lessell. A key leader of education in the Harvard Department of Ophthalmology for over 30 years and one of the most gifted diagnosticians of all time, Dr. Lessell passed away in May 2016.
An exceptional clinician, teacher, and mentor, Dr. Chen first joined the department in 1998 as a resident before serving as Chief Resident and Director of the Trauma Service at Mass Eye and Ear. She joined the faculty 2002 as a member of the Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service at Mass Eye and Ear, and in 2006, she was promoted to Director of the service.
Over the past 20-plus years, Dr. Chen has been a dedicated and generous teacher to many residents and trainees at all levels. A core faculty member in our residency program, she has played a key role in developing and implementing our stepwise curriculum for phacoemulsification surgery, and she is the primary surgical instructor for first- and third-year residents. She has also served as Co-Chair of the Harvard Ophthalmology Intensive Cataract Surgical Training Course since 2005. Now in its 17th year, it is nationally and internationally recognized as the premier cataract training course, and it has served as a model for other ophthalmic training programs. Dr. Chen is also the Cataract Section Director for the Lancaster Course in Ophthalmology.
Throughout her career, Dr. Chen has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the 2014 Mass Eye and Ear Distinguished Service Award, the 2015 Harvard Ophthalmology Surgical Teacher of the Year Award, and the 2019 Women in Ophthalmology Educators Award.