James Chodosh, MD, MPH, Honored for His Contributions to Education

June 21, 2022

James Chodosh, MD, MPH, the Edith Ives Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), received this year’s Simmons Lessell Excellence in Education Award. Presented during our clinical graduation ceremony on June 16, 2022, 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 scientist, teacher, and mentor, Dr. Chodosh serves as the Vice Chair of Education and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Harvard Ophthalmology, as well as Associate Chief of Ophthalmology Education, Associate Service Director of the Cornea Service and Director of the Cornea fellowship at Mass Eye and Ear.

Over the past 14 years, Dr. Chodosh has been a dedicated and generous teacher to many residents and trainees at all levels. He has also developed a passion for addressing the needs of those who are under-represented in medicine. Dr. Chodosh was a founding partner in the national Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring (MOM) program developed by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the AUPO. He subsequently joined efforts at Mass Eye and Ear, and has led efforts in Harvard Ophthalmology, working with Drs. Ankoor Shah, Alice Lorch, and Joe Arboleda.

In 2021, Drs. Chodosh and Arboleda established the Harvard Ophthalmology Research Scholars Program for underrepresented and underprivileged medical students to spend the summer at Mass Eye and Ear, learning about eye research and ophthalmology. The highly successful program will continue this summer.

Throughout his career, Dr. Chodosh has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the 2014 Harvard Ophthalmology Clinical Teacher of the Year award, the 2015 Alcon Research Institute Award, a 2021 American Academy of Ophthalmology Secretariat Award, and a 2022 Mass General Brigham Pillars in Excellence Award. He has also been nominated multiple times for prestigious HMS awards, including the Excellence in Mentoring Award, the Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award, and the Barbara J. McNeil Faculty Award for Exceptional Institutional Service.

Dr. Chodosh will be leaving Harvard Ophthalmology in September to become the inaugural Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of New Mexico. 

“Jim’s wonderful leadership skills, judgement, and good humor have been essential to so many aspects of our mission, particularly teaching, and we will miss him greatly, but are also proud and excited for him as he embarks on this exciting new adventure,” said Joan W. Miller, MD, Chair of Harvard Ophthalmology.

See also: Awards, Education