VBS 2023: Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Allen C. Ho

Lauren Kiryakoza, MD
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Miami, FL

A Real-Life Retina Iron-Man: Dr. Allen C. Ho, Vit-Buckle Society Lifetime Achievement Award

Saturday afternoon, Dr. Ehsan Rahimy introduced one of the Vit-Buckle Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, a real-life ironman, Dr. Allen C. Ho. The acknowledgement of Dr. Ho’s life and career focused first on an important foundation in his life, his family. Born in Minnesota, his childhood was colored by his supportive, loving parents and sister. His late father, who had a background in biostatistics and was involved in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, celebrated Dr. Ho’s childhood creativity and encouraged him in his pursuit of organized sports. Dr. Ho went on to play football at Cornell and rugby at Columbia while he was a medical student. His athleticism did not stop there. He went on to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (with his children!), swam his way of out Alcatraz, and bicycles with his friend and colleague of over 25 years, Dr. Regillo. His superhero ways extend beyond athletics. His academic life is marked by tremendous achievements. After completing ophthalmology residency at Wills Eye Hospital, he completed surgical retina fellowship with Dr. Lawrence Yannuzzi and Dr. Stanley Chang, among others. He went to Scheie Eye Institute for his first job before returning to the Wills retina department. While describing his path, he thanked just a few of his many mentors, including Dr. Haller, Dr. Tasman, and Dr. Benson. Since his return, he has trained over 65 retina fellows. He is described by them as a “uniter” and “innovative”. Preventing blindness secondary to diabetic retinopathy is a passion of his, leading him to organize vision screens around Philadelphia with a team of over 40 medical students. Upon closing, he expressed his gratitude for the team who surrounds him, including his family, mentors, friends, and colleagues. Dr. Ho was asked about the legacy he hopes to leave. Most important to him, he stated, was not hundreds of publications and academic accolades, but his commitment to making his “team” better.