Dr. Edmond is Chair and Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin, and the Director of the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute.
1. Please share with us your background.
I attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in biology and a minor in art history. I originally intended to become a medical illustrator, but I was inspired to pursue medicine by my sister-in-law, who was a pediatric infectious disease specialist. I had a great GPA but a lousy MCAT score. Thankfully, my medical school, Baylor College of Medicine, had a more holistic approach to admissions.
After a 2-week ophthalmology rotation, I was committed to pursuing ophthalmology as a career. Back in those days, we had to type or handwrite residency applications, and each application seemed to request different personal statements. That certainly limited the number of applications that students were able to complete! Baylor College of Medicine was my first choice. At that time, we received notification by snail mail, but since I was on call the day the letter was to arrive, I took a chance and called SF Match. I was told that I had matched at Baylor! That day was in the top 5 happiest days of my life. (However, I did call back and ask for confirmation—I feared the office had made a mistake!)
After residency, I completed a fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology at the University of Iowa. I then returned to Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital, where I worked with one of the legends of pediatric ophthalmology, Gunter von Noorden, MD. We had a weekly case conference, where I heard pearl after pearl from Dr. von Noorden. It was like a 7-year post-fellowship fellowship!
I relocated to Philadelphia and held positions at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Scheie Eye Institute, and Wills Eye Hospital. After 7 great years, family issues brought me and my husband back to Houston, and I returned to Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital. Three years later, though, I was burned out. I desperately needed a new challenge, a jump-start, a reset. I spoke to my chair, Dan B. Jones, MD, and we created a plan. In 2005, I began a second fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at Baylor, with the intention to practice pediatric neuro-ophthalmology. Being a fellow again and having a new focus in my practice and research was one of the best career decisions I ever made.
In 2017, my career was chugging along as well as I could have wished. I had been promoted to professor, was on the AAO Board of Trustees, and was in line to become President of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS). Then everything changed after one phone call …
A member of the ophthalmology chair search committee for the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, Austin (UT Austin), asked me to apply for the position as Inaugural Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute. Whoa! The more I learned about the mission of the school, the more I was intrigued by the position—the opportunity to redefine value in health care, increase access to the safety net population, rethink how we care for patients, and be a part of UT Austin. My first day as Chair was January 16, 2018.
2. What is the focus of your current research?
Unfortunately, I have little time for research. In the past, I participated in clinical research and observational studies. Currently, I am in the process of reporting the ophthalmic findings of a large group of individuals with Bosch-Boonstra-Schaaf Optic Atrophy syndrome who exhibit optic nerve hypoplasia, cortical vision impairment, and alacrima.
3. What has your experience been collaborating with industry?
Although I have participated in many prospective trails sponsored by the NEI, pediatric ophthalmologists have less opportunity to participate in industry-sponsored trials than, say, our glaucoma and retina colleagues. This is likely due to the fact that many of the diseases we treat are in conjunction with other medical subspecialties, which act as the principal investigators service, such as pediatric neurology, neuro-oncology, and dermatology.
4. In your opinion, how is the role of women in ophthalmology evolving?
It is not evolving—it is exploding! Easily 50% of US ophthalmology residents are women. A few years ago, I served on the AAO Membership Committee and learned that, of US ophthalmologists who are less than 42 years old, 50% are women!
5. What, if any, hurdles do you feel women in health care still face?
Women in the medical workplace have made significant strides, but there are still many hurdles. One such hurdle is unconscious bias and gender stereotyping, which may be exhibited by one’s parents, spouse or significant other, chair or managing partner, and colleagues. This potentially negatively affects women’s salaries, opportunities for promotion and development, and overall well-being.
Examples of unconscious bias and gender stereotyping include women being judged for having children (eg, will lead to lack of job commitment) as well as for not having children (eg, not fulfilling a societal expectation). I, myself, was once stigmatized for working part-time when my children were young, leading new acquaintances at my hospital to proclaim, “Oh, you are the new part-time doctor!” This has since been termed the maternal wall and is a big factor in stopping women who are mothers from progressing.
Medical centers and private practices also typically have insufficient policies and programs to support childrearing, making it difficult for women to juggle work, motherhood, and family. Women are still the primary caregivers, and this may be in part due to our parents’ and/or spouses’ bias, and possibly our own. I certainly felt that I should be the parent who organized my children’s care, schooling, doctors’ visits, play dates, etc. This double duty of motherhood and career leads to burnout and attrition.
Another issue for those in academics is the pressures of the tenure clock, which requires scholarly achievements in a certain time frame for promotion and tenure. If a woman works part-time or takes time off to rear children, the lack of flexibility of promotion and tenure guidelines may lead to women leaving academic ophthalmology.
6. What advice can you offer to young female ophthalmologists who are still in training or just beginning their careers?
Value your training! Wring out every possible valuable experience from your residency and, if pursued, fellowship training. Study, be scientifically curious, and ask for feedback. These are the golden (and final) years of your education, free of the concerns of practice overhead, managing a staff, and providing quality care to your patients without an attending by your side.
For those just starting their careers, be the ideal new employee. Be humble. Be willing to take on tasks for the greater good of the practice or department. Be collegial and friendly to the staff, your partners, and your colleagues. The goodwill you offer today will be paid back when you need help in the future. Lastly, be low maintenance. It is said that, of the time a department chair (or managing partner) spends managing faculty, 80% is spent on 20% of the faculty. Lesson here: Don’t be in that high-maintenance 20%!
7. Can you propose a unique or creative idea that may help women in ophthalmic practices?
Strive to work in an organization or practice that is in alignment with your own values and beliefs. This is termed cultural fit and has been shown to lead to increased satisfaction in the workplace and increased productivity. For me personally, a prime example of poor cultural fit would be working in a practice or hospital that treats physicians like work RVU generators who are replaceable commodities.
1. Okcu MF, Saifee M, Whitehead WE, Edmond J. Cran-19. Long-term vision impairment is highly prevalent in pediatric craniopharyngioma patients. Neuro Oncol. 2018;20(Suppl 2):i40.
2. Gadgil N, Edmond JC, Stormes K, Lam S, Shah V. Visual complications of pediatric posterior fossa tumors: analysis of outcomes. Pediatr Neurol. 2019;92:48-254.
3. Wallace S, Edmond JC. In support of ophthalmology-specific patient-reported outcome measures. Ophthalmology. 2019;126(5):690-691.
4. Jin HD, Demmler-Harrison GJ, Jerry Miller J, et al; for the Congenital CMV Longitudinal Group. Cortical visual impairment in congenital cytomegalovirus infection. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2019;56(3):194-202.
5. Ganesh A, Edmond J, Forbes B, et al. An update of ophthalmic management in craniosynostosis. J AAPOS. 2019;23(2):66-76.
6. Ali SF, Edmond JC, Suelflow JR, Coats DK, Yen KG. Band keratopathy in children previously treated with diode laser for type 1 retinopathy of prematurity. J AAPOS. 2019;23(4):232-234.
7. Edmond JC, Tung I. Ophthalmic outcomes for children treated with CNS radiation. In: Mahajan A, Paulino A, eds. Radiation Oncology for Pediatric CNS Tumors. Springer International Publishing; 2018.
8. Peeler CE, Edmond JC, Hollander J, et al. Visual and ocular motor outcomes in children with posterior fossa tumors. J AAPOS. 2017;(17):30213-30216.
9. Chilakapati M, Edmond JC. The red flag: when pediatric nystagmus is a harbinger of life-threatening disease. Am Orthoptic J. 2017;67(1):31-35.
10. Patel R, Liiu D, Gonzaga-Jaurequi C, et al. An exome sequencing study of Moebius syndrome including atypical cases reveals an individual with CFEOM3A and a TUBB3 mutation. Cold Spring Harb Mol Case Stud. 2017;3(2):a000984.
11. Buchanan E, Gallagher E, LaMattina K, Shah V, Xue A, Edmond JC. Ocular manifestations of craniofacial disorders. In: Levin AV, Enzenauer RW, eds. The Eye in Pediatric Systemic Disease. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing; 2017; 171-196.
12. Jin H, Demmler-Harrison GJ, Coats D, et al; for the Congenital CMV Longitudinal Study Group. Long-term visual and ocular sequelae in patients with congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2016;36(9):877-882.
13. Quinn GE, Dobson V, Davitt BV, et al; for the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity Cooperative Group. Progression of myopia and high myopia in the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity study: findings at 4 to 6 years of age. J AAPOS. 2013;17(2):124-128.
14. Quinn GE, Dobson V, Davitt BV, et al; for the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity Cooperative Group. Progression of myopia and high myopia in the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity study: findings at 4 to 6 years of age. J AAPOS. 2013;17(2):124-128.
15. Edmond JC. Neuro-ophthalmology. In: Olitski SE, Nelson LB, eds. Pediatric Clinical Ophthalmology: A Color Handbook. England: Manson Publishing Ltd.; 2012.
16. Edmond JC. Pediatric brain tumors: the neuro-ophthalmic impact. Inte Ophthalmol Clin. 2012;52(3):95.
17. McCarthy JG, Warren SM, Bernstein J, Burnett W, et al; for the Craniosynostosis Working Group. Parameters of care for craniosynostosis. Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2012;49:1S-24S.
18. Capo H, Repka MX, Edmond JC, Drack AV, Blumenfeld L, Siatkowski RM. Optic nerve abnormalities in children: a practical approach. J AAPOS. 2011;15(3):281-290.
19. Dobson V, Quinn GE, Summers CG, Hardy RJ, Tung B, Good WV; for the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity Cooperative Group. Grading visual acuity results in the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2011;129(7):840-846.
20. Good WV, Hardy RJ, Dobson V, et al; for the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity Cooperative Group. Final visual acuity results in the early treatment for retinopathy of prematurity study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2010;128(6):663-671.
21. Weaver DT, Burke MJ, Edmond JC. Treatment of a manifest strabismus with amblyopia. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2010;47(1):5-9.
22. Chern JJ, Relyea K, Edmond JC, et al. Transient selective downward gaze paralysis complicating posterior fossa tumor resection in children. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2009;3(6):467-471.
23. Edmond JC. Mitochondrial disorders. International Ophthalmology Clinics. 2009;49(3):27-33.
24. Edmond JC. Eye infections. In: Bell L, ed. Pediatric Infectious Diseases: The Requisites in Pediatrics. Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2008.
25. Hasan J, Yen KG, Pargi CR, Castanes MS, Edmond JC. The frequency of ocular abnormalities in inpatient pediatric ophthalmology consultations. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2008;45(2):85-89.
26. Reddy AK, Edmond JC, Foroozan R, Hinckley LK. Dilated superior ophthalmic veins and posterior ischemic optic neuropathy after prolonged spine surgery posterior ischemic optic neuropathy. J Neuro-Ophthalmol. 2008;28(4):327-328.
27. Foroozan R, Edmond JC. Cortical visual impairment in children. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2007;17:509-512.
28. Jadico SK, Young DA, Huebner A, et al. Ocular abnormalities in Apert syndrome: genotype/phenotype correlations with fibroblast growth factor receptor type 2 mutations. J AAPOS. 2007;10(6):521-527.
29. Forbes BJ, Binenbaum G, Edmond JC, DeLarato N, McDonald-McGuinn DM, Zackai EH. The ocular findings in the chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. J AAPOS. 2007;11(2):179-182.
30. Stevens P, Downey C, Boyd V, et al. Deformational plagiocephtaly associated with ocular torticollis: a clinical study and literature review. J Craniofac Surg. 2007;18(2):399-405.
31. Edmond JC. Update on the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis. Current Insights. July 2007. https://www.aao.org/current-insight/update-on-diagnosis-of-ocular-myasthenia-gravis.
32. Reddy AK, Foroozan R, Arat YO, Edmond JC, Yen MT. Ptosis in young soft contact lens wearers. Ophthalmology. 2007;114(12):2370.
33. Gilbert ME, Meira D, Foroozan R, Edmond J, Phillips P. Double vision worth a double take. Surv Ophthalmol. 2006;51(6):587-591.
34. Forbes BJ, Edmond JC, Calhoun J, Saran B. Spontaneous resolution of a unilateral cataract in an infant. J AAPOS. 2004;8(3):284-285.
35. Lin JW, Fosnot J, Edmond JC. Bilateral angle closure glaucoma in a child receiving oral topiramate. J AAPOS. 2003;7(1):66-68.
36. Goldstein SM, Liu GT, Edmond JC, Katowitz JA, Rorke LB. Orbital neural-glial hamartoma associated with a congenital tonic pupil. J AAPOS. 2002;6(1):54-55.
37. Lee AG, Patrinely JR, Edmond JC. Optic nerve sheath decompression in pediatric pseudotumor cerebri. Ophthalmic Surg Lasers.1998;9(6):514-517.
38. Steinkuller PG. Edmond JC, Chen RM. Ocular infections. In: Feigin, Cherry, eds. Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders. 1996;786-806.
39. Klapper SR, Edmond JC. Initial approach to the child who presents with ocular and periocular infections. Semin Pediatr Infect Dis. 1996;7:(1):18-26.
40. Avilla C, Edmond JC. Case corner. Am Orthoptic J. 1994;(44):130.
41. Edmond JC, Keech RV. Congenital nasolacrimal sac mucocele associated with respiratory distress. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 1991;28(5):287-289.
42. Kalthoff K, Edmond JC. Modifying effects of ultraviolet irradiation on the development of abnormal body patterns in centrifuged insect embryos. Dev Biol. 1982;91(2):413-422.
PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIPS
- American Academy of Ophthalmology | 1990 to Present
- American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus | 1992 to Present
- American Board of Ophthalmology | 2003 to Present
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Specialty Fellow | 1996 to 2000, 2010 to 2017
- Harris County Medical Society | 1990 to 1996, 2004 to 2017
- Baylor Ophthalmology Alumni Association | 1991 to 1996
- Pennsylvania Ophthalmology Association | 1996 to 2003
- Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology | 1996 to 2003
- Delaware Valley Pediatric Ophthalmology Society | 1996 to 2003
- Houston Ophthalmological Society | 2004 to 2017
- Travis County Medical Society | 2018 to 2019
- Texas Ophthalmological Association | 2004 to Present
- Austin Ophthalmology Society | 2018 to Present
HONORS AND AWARDS
- Senior Honor Award, American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus | 2019
- Secretariat Award, Member Services, American Academy of Ophthalmology | 2018
- Secretariat Award, Communications, American Academy of Ophthalmology | 2018
- Senior Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology | 2013
- Honor Award, American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus | 2009
- Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology | 2005
- Continuing Education Award, Life-Long Education for the Ophthalmologist, American Academy of Ophthalmology | 2004
- Secretariat Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology | 2003
- Goar Award, Second Place, Baylor Ophthalmology Alumni Association Annual Meeting, Baylor College of Medicine | 1989
- Alpha Omega Alpha, Baylor College of Medicine | 1985
- Special Honors in Zoology, The University of Texas at Austin | 1981
- Summa Cum Laude, The University of Texas at Austin | 1981
- Phi Beta Kappa, The University of Texas at Austin | 1981