2019 Retina Hall of Fame Award
Alice R. McPherson, MD

October 11, 2019

The directors of the Retina Hall of Fame are proud to honor Alice R. McPherson for her extraordinary contributions to the field of retinal disease with presentation of the First Retina Hall of Fame award.  It is fitting that Dr. McPherson received the award this year on what is the 50th anniversary of the creation of The Retina Research Foundation.

Alice McPherson is one of the world's leading vitreoretinal specialists. She earned her bachelor of science (1948) and medical degrees (1951) from the University of Wisconsin (UW). She completed a fellowship in retinal diseases and retinal surgery at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (1959).

After serving as a clinical instructor in ophthalmology at UW, Dr. McPherson moved to Houston, Texas.  There she established herself as one of the pioneers in the field.  Along with her private practice, she founded the retina service at Baylor College of Medicine, where she has taught ever since.  Dr. McPherson promoted several procedures that are now accepted as basic elements in retinal detachment surgery, and she contributed greatly to the understanding and treatment of diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity.

In 1969, Dr. McPherson founded The Retina Research Foundation (RRF) in Houston, dedicated to the eradication of retinal disease.  Under her leadership as president and scientific adviser, the RRF has funded more than 1,000 grants and helped to launch the careers of many major vision researchers in the United States and abroad.  The RRF also has established major awards in collaboration with the leading ophthalmologic societies, chairs and professorships at universities and research institutions, travel grants for young scientists, and international fellowships of advanced subspecialty training.  With a new endowment valued at more than $55 million, the foundation has awarded more than $34 million to date for retina research.

In 2002, her vision inspiration and support were critical in the establishment of the McPherson Eye Research Institute (MERI) at UW-Madison.  She served for 12 years on the UW Foundation Board of Directors; she was the founding president of the UW Ophthalmology Alumni Association; and she has been responsible for establishing endowed chairs and lectureships at the university.

Dr. McPerson has written more than 70 book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and she has given scores of lectures and presentations all over the world.  She has served on the editorial boards of Ophthalmology, Survey of Ophthalmology, and the American Journal of Ophthalmology, among others.  Co-authored with Dr. Daniel M. Albert, a history of the first 50 years of The Retina Research Foundation was published recently.

Dr. McPherson's numerous honors include an honorary doctor of science degree in 1977 from UW-Madison, where she served as commencement speaker in 1995.  She has held countless offices, committee memberships, and honorary appointments, including multiple offices at UW, the office of vice-president and president of the Retina Society, and multiple offices in the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology.  Dr. McPherson is a member of the Club Jules Gonin and a charter member of the Retina Society and the Vitreous Society.  Her many honors include Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine; the Charles L. Schepens Honor Award, the Senior Honor Award, Distinguished Alumni Professional Achievement Award of Harvard Medical School, and the Guest of Honor award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology; the Gonin Medical and lectureship. and appearances in the Best Doctors of America and multiple Who's Who lists.

The Board of Directors of the Retina Hall of Fame are pleased to present the First Retina Hall of Fame Award to Alice R. McPherson, MD.