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Remembering Dr. Martha Farber (1950-2018), First Woman Ophthalmologist to Chair the American Board o

The ophthalmic community mourns the loss of Martha J. (Gilmore) Farber, MD, 67, of Delmar, NY. Dr. Farber, who became the first woman ophthalmologist to chair the American Board of Ophthalmology in 2009, was a distinguished physician and educator who dedicated her life to serving veterans in Albany.

Dr. Farber graduated with honors from SUNY Downstate Medical School in Brooklyn and went on to complete her internship at Albany Medical Center. She then entered residency training in ophthalmology at Washington University in St. Louis where she was the first female chief resident in the history of the program. Later, Dr. Farber joined the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, conducting groundbreaking pathology research that established a connection between infant eye damage and shaken baby syndrome.

Beginning in 1993, Dr. Farber served as Chief of Ophthalmology and most recently as Chief of Staff at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany. She was also Professor of Ophthalmology at Albany Medical College, Program Director of the ophthalmology residency program at AMC from 1994-1999, and ophthalmic pathologist at Albany Medical Center. A mentor and teacher to many current and future ophthalmologists, she was named “Teacher of the Year” at AMC in 1995, 2000, and 2004.

From 2002 to 2009, Dr. Farber served as a board director for the ABO and led the committee that oversees Oral Examinations. At the time of her appointment, she was the third woman in the organization’s history to become a director. Dr. Farber figured prominently in the ABO’s 100th anniversary symposium in 2016, presenting on the recent history and evolution of the Oral Examination process.

She was also a member of the ACGME Ophthalmology RRC from 2003-2010; counselor for the American Academy of Ophthalmology from 2003-2009; president of the Association of VA Ophthalmologists 1998-2000; president of the American Association of Ophthalmic Pathologists 2007-2008; member of the Surgical Advisory Board for Ophthalmology for the National Surgery Office from 2009-2018 (Chair 2016); and member of the Verhoeff-Zimmerman Ophthalmic Pathology Society.

The ABO extends its condolences to Dr. Farber’s family, friends, and colleagues. Online remembrances may be made here.

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