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Sarah Coupland

The Power List 2021 – Power List


Senior Consultant Histopathologist at the Liverpool University Foundation Hospital Trusts, and Molecular Pathology Lead at the NHS North West Genomic Laboratory Hub, Liverpool, UK

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Receiving the ICO’s Award for Ophthalmic Pathology in 2018 at the World Ophthalmological Congress in Barcelona. This award is given out only every four years to someone who has consistently supported training and research in Eye Pathology. It was instigated by Profs. Gottfried and Lieselotte Naumann of Erlangen, Germany, and involves an international competitive selection process. Together with William Lee (Glasgow), Naumann was one of my mentors during my training as an eye pathologist. To be chosen amongst the previous awardees was a great honour for me.

Outside of ophthalmology, what makes you happy?

Outside my work, I have a passion for various things. As a mother, my three children make me very happy and proud. But beyond them, I very much enjoy cycling, walking, photography, music, and delicious seafood!

Why is it important to celebrate women in the field this way?

Women have been often overlooked in the recognition of various medical and scientific achievements. There are numerous examples of this, over centuries and even today in all countries – Lise Meitner, Elizabeth Blackwell, James Barry born Margaret Bulkeley, Yoshioka Yayoi, Rosalind Franklin, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell, to name but a few. Hence, by creating a list of women who have contributed significantly to ophthalmology, we are providing a record for now, as well as for future generations, and may enable other women to obtain the recognition they deserve.

What can be done to make the field more diverse? 

Surgical specialties all suffer from a male/female imbalance. This may be due unconscious bias within the individual, society, and within institutions. This must be addressed head-on, with women of all backgrounds being encouraged to enter ophthalmology and associated specialties, to take this career into consideration even when they are at secondary school before progressing into medicine at university. Through programs such as Women in Vision UK and ARVO’s Women’s Leadership Development Program, women can be supported through their entire clinical and research careers. Mentorship programs or networks should also be available, acting as a buddying system, so that women can tap into these whenever problems arise. Finally, male colleagues should be made aware of what obstacles are still present for progression of female ophthalmologists, and should be enlisted to help overcome these.


Part of the Power List 2021

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One hundred reasons to celebrate women in ophthalmology

Go to The Power List 2021

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