December 16, 2011

Joel Sugar, MD, assumes duties as Interim Head of the Department of Ophthalmology

Dean Dimitri Azar announced the appointment of Joel Sugar, MD, as Interim Department Head of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences today, December 16, 2011.  Dr. Sugar previously served as Interim Head in 2005 during the search for a permanent department head that resulted in the selection of Dr. Dimitri Azar.

“I am very pleased to serve the Department by continuing the positive trajectory of growth we have enjoyed under Dr. Azar’s leadership,” stated Dr. Sugar.  “I look forward to helping Dean Azar with the search for a new department head,” he added, noting that the department’s last search resulted in “a stellar choice.”

Dr. Sugar has had a long and distinguished career in clinical research in the cornea and external diseases subspecialty, particularly in studies of Fuchs disease and keratoconus.  His contributions as a member of influential National Eye Institute study groups and also a principal and co- investigator on basic science research grants sponsored by NEI have led to significant improvements in the surgical treatment of Fuchs disease and keratoconus.  He has served as the Medical Director of the Illinois Eye Bank for 25 years.  He received the Life Achievement Honor Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2008, and he has been named one of America’s Best Doctors® every year since the list was first published in 1989.   He joined the Department in 1975 and served as Director of the Cornea Service from 1976 to 2002.

In a 2010 investiture ceremony conducted by then Provost Michael Tanner, Dr. Sugar was named the Joel Sugar MD Endowed Professor in Ophthalmology.

Dr. Sugar earned a BA Magna Cum Laude from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and an MD Cum Laude from its Medical School.  He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Washington University School of Medicine and a Clinical Fellowship in Cornea and External Disease at the University of Florida, Gainesville.