Eve J. Higginbotham
The Power List 2021 – Power List
Vice Dean for Penn Medicine Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis, Institute for Health Economics, Professor of Ophthalmology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Why is it important to celebrate women in ophthalmology with the 2021 Power List?
We need to celebrate women in ophthalmology because we are underrepresented in our discipline, are not representative of the proportion of women in our nation, and not representative of the proportion of women in medicine. A recent article in NEJM (November 2020) indicates that women in medicine in general have not progressed in either promotions and leadership in 35 years. Thus, despite our best efforts, there still remain barriers to our advancement. The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged us into a gender recession. Therefore, highlighting women remains important to let those coming behind us, “If you see us, you can be us.”
What can be done to make the field more diverse?
We need leaders of programs, chairs, chiefs, and program directors to be proactive in engaging students who may not be aware of how great a career in ophthalmology is, advance opportunities to engage in research to introduce more students, and when selecting residents remain cognizant of the need to advance diversity among our ranks.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I have so many moments of my career that I reflect on during these days when we are all inundated with news about deaths and disparities, that it is hard to consider just one. I will recall three moments: 1. Launching the Student Sight Savers Program in the 1990s, which at its peak was in more than 40 medical schools, exposing first and second year medical students to ophthalmology; 2. My induction in the National Academy of Medicine, at a time when there were fewer than 10 ophthalmologists in the Academy; 3. My induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and signing the book that had been previously signed by the founders of our country.
Outside of work, what makes you happy?
Spending time with my husband, Frank. We will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary this year! And golf, golf, and more golf.