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Martine J. Jager

The Power List 2021 – Power List


Professor of Ophthalmology at Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden University, The Netherlands

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Being named the first non-American President of ARVO. I was given the opportunity to place people on committees and decided to go for proper member representation. That meant identifying fine women and international members and convincing them to become candidates for committees. Looking back, the statistics show that from 2007 on, the committees really changed in composition. Now, it is considered completely normal to have mixed committees. This was done together with the CEO of ARVO, Joanne Angle. I am very grateful for 30 years of collaboration with great people at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami and the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, and proud of all the Dutch students who spent time with them. Collaborations are the basis of new ideas and new treatments.

Outside of ophthalmology, what makes you happy?

It makes me very happy when my students, who are from diverse backgrounds, achieve something they thought they could not do, such as publishing a paper or getting a PhD degree. I am happy when I meet with great colleagues from around the world and have been lucky in finding many superb friends. And in my private life, I love to play golf with my twin sister, with sunshine, a slight breeze, and birds everywhere.

What can be done to make the field more diverse? 

Those in a leadership position can do very much once they recognize there is a lack of diversity. Leaders can make the field more diverse by mentoring people from different backgrounds, gender, and nationalities. Give people confidence and support them directly or indirectly by mentioning their names for committees or grants. Help people independent of your own interest, and spend time on showing them the way.


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