In her new position as Chair of the UCLA Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Anne L. Coleman, sees it as a privilege and duty to share her commitment to healing as many people with eye and vision disorders as possible.
“Working in the community has always been a focus of mine, and bringing our expertise and excellence into community outreach—and everything else we do to cure and prevent eye disease—is my passion,” said Coleman, who is also director of the Stein Eye Institute and the affiliation chair of Doheny Eye Institute at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine along with being a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and at Charles Drew Medical School.
The UCLA Stein Eye Institute’s Mobile Eye Clinic has helped screen and treat the vision of more than 180,000 low-income children and adults in southern California. In addition to the underserved, the eye institutes treat a wide range of patients, from people who have healthy eyes to those who are at risk for disease to patients who have very severe, complicated diseases that can’t be treated anywhere else in the world. UCLA Stein Eye Institute and the Doheny Eye Centers also treat patients of all ages—from days-old babies to centenarians.
In addition to managing the entire spectrum of patient care needs, Coleman also supports and contributes to UCLA’s research and education efforts.
“Research is very much a part of providing excellent patient care. Even if it’s considered ‘basic’ research, the goal is that this is going to lead to the cure of an eye disease and also the prevention of it,” Coleman said. “Plus, everything we are doing to educate and train our students will create the next generation of providers and scientists. The concept of excellence is focused on these priorities, realizing we are all here to serve the community and our patients.”
Clinical and research experience
A distinguished researcher, Dr. Coleman’s work has centered on the public health impact, risk factors, and treatments of the main causes of blindness including glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
She has also studied sources of visual impairment and potential interventions in children. Her clinical experience with glaucoma patients has afforded numerous opportunities for collaboration and large-scale, population-based studies on glaucoma and its surgical options, modifiable prognostic factors for its progression, and detection processes.
Dr. Coleman has also taken many leadership roles in the field’s professional associations including president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, chair of the National Eye Institute’s National Eye Health Educational Program, president of Women in Ophthalmology, member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ophthalmic device panel, scientific advisory panel member for Research to Prevent Blindness, president of the Council for the American Ophthalmological Society, and associate editor of glaucoma for the American Journal of Ophthalmology.
“I think as a profession, our duty is not just to the patient we’re seeing in the chair, but also to society,” Coleman said. “I see the UCLA Department of Ophthalmology as having a public health mission to bring eye and vision care to everyone, and the professional societies play a very important role in that.”
Coleman completed her surgical internship at the Medical College of Virginia, was a resident at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and completed her fellowship in glaucoma at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
She went on to get her doctorate in epidemiology from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health where she was a member of Delta Omega Honor Society, and also graduated the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s executive program in management. She has written more than 240 peer-reviewed articles, has been awarded over $20 million in research funding, and has facilitated recruitment of more than 40 faculty to her department.
Coleman takes the helm of clinical operations at UCLA’s Department of Ophthalmology as it continues its mission to reach underserved populations and further vision science to improve patient care, research, education and outreach.
“We’re one of the best eye centers in the world,” Coleman said. “My motto for my colleagues is, ‘The best can always get better!”