Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Oct. 12, 2021 — The American Academy of Ophthalmology board of trustees today announced the unanimous selection of Stephen D. McLeod, M.D., 57, as the Academy’s next chief executive officer (CEO). Dr. McLeod currently is the Theresa M. and Wayne M. Caygill, M.D. Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He will succeed David W. Parke II, M.D., effective Feb. 1.

“David has been an incredible leader and the Academy is thriving; I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the Academy and such an inspirational group of colleagues that is our profession,” said Dr. McLeod.

At UCSF, Dr. McLeod leads a research, education and patient care program with an annual budget approaching $40 million and 250 employees, including 59 clinicians and scientists. Under his direction, the department more than doubled clinical care visits and tripled research funding and successfully completed a $200 million capital and research base expansion program. The research program was the number one recipient of National Eye Institute (NEI) funds for the last three years running.

Dr. McLeod has a long history of Academy service, beginning as a member of the Preferred Practice Patterns Committee, a panel of experts that produce guidelines that serve as the gold standard for quality eye care. He eventually chaired the committee. He also served as the secretary for Quality of Care and currently serves as editor-in-chief of Ophthalmology, the most widely read clinical publication within the medical specialty of ophthalmology. And he has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2017.

"With his experience as chair of a highly competitive academic department and editor of the Academy's flagship peer-reviewed journal, Ophthalmology, Stephen brings critical experience and vision to the role of Academy CEO and is our enthusiastic choice to lead organized ophthalmology in 2022 and beyond," said Tamara R. Fountain, M.D., president of the Academy.

Dr. McLeod maintains an active clinical practice in cornea and external disease, including cataract and refractive surgery. His research centers on design and execution of randomized clinical trials to improve diagnosis and treatment of corneal infection worldwide.

He is highly engaged in his profession, having served on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Ophthalmology and is currently on the Council of the American Ophthalmological Society. He is a former chair of the Ophthalmic Devices panel of the FDA and is a former member of the National Eye Advisory Council advising the Secretary of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health and the NEI on all policies and activities relating to vision research, training and other programs of the institute. 

Before his tenure at UCSF, Dr. McLeod was a resident, assistant professor and then director of refractive surgery at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was a fellow at the Doheny Eye Institute in Los Angeles and received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University. He received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.

The CEO is the highest staff position for the Academy, leading more than 200 employees and managing an annual budget of $62 million. The CEO must be an active or life fellow of the Academy; have an active, unrestricted license to practice medicine; and have experience in leadership and organizational management. In April, Dr. Parke announced his intention to step down after 12 years in the role. A committee chaired by Academy past-president Anne L. Coleman, M.D., Ph.D., then directed a national search for Dr. Parke’s successor.

“I’m incredibly excited that Stephen will be the Academy’s next CEO,” said Dr. Parke. “He is widely recognized as a leader in academic ophthalmology and as a gifted teacher, and I’ve also been delighted to partner with him on issues of advocacy at the state and federal level. His business management expertise has been highlighted as he directed the development and operation of a beautiful new eye institute. All ophthalmologists will be fortunate to have Dr. McLeod at the Academy’s helm.”


About the Academy

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit


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