John Loewenstein, MD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Associate Clinical Chief of Ophthalmology at Mass Eye and Ear, will retire in December. A dedicated teacher throughout his career, he helped develop teaching tools to improve surgical competency in ophthalmology. Dr. Loewenstein has been a key member of the department leadership for nearly two decades.
Fellowship-trained in retina, Dr. Loewenstein joined the faculty in 1986 and quickly became a vital part of the training program for medical students, residents, and clinical fellows. From 2002 to 2013, Dr. Loewenstein served as Program Director of our Ophthalmology Residency Program, and in 2008, he was named Vice Chair for Medical Education at Harvard Medical School and Associate Chief of Education at Mass Eye and Ear. During his tenure, he has led numerous educational innovations that have improved the continuity of the residency experience and maximized clinical and surgical teaching. His major contributions include:
- Introducing a progressive surgical curriculum with former Residency Program Director Carolyn Kloek, MD, that emphasizes gradual, hands-on learning (year one) and modular, stepwise training of phacoemulsification surgery (year two)
- Introducing a structured, schedule of customized surgical training sessions that are now formally proctored by faculty and fellows
- Organizing the first national vitrectomy course (now in its tenth year) for first-year vitreoretinal fellows with Demetrios Vavvas, MD
- Developing the Cataract Master®-an innovative, computer-based cataract surgical training tool-with former faculty member Bonnie An Henderson, MD. In 2019, this tool became available to all American Academy of Ophthalmology members.
An extraordinary clinical and surgical educator, Dr. Loewenstein has received numerous teaching awards, including the 1996, 2001, and 2015 Harvard Ophthalmology Teacher of the Year awards; and the 2019 Simmons Lessell Excellence in Education Award. This year, he was honored with the American Academy of Ophthalmology Unsung Hero Award.
Dr. Loewenstein has also served on the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Department of Ophthalmology Board of Surgeons (1996-2019), and chaired numerous committees, including the Eye Utilization Review Committee (1994-2004), Ophthalmology Residency Selection Committee (2002-2013), Ophthalmology Residency Steering Committee (2002-2013), Harvard Ophthalmology Residency Managing Committee (2005-2013).
We look forward to celebrating Dr. Loewenstein's career at a special virtual Grand Rounds event on December 17. Invitations will be going out in the coming weeks.