Every year on March 30, we celebrate National Doctors’ Day—a day created to honor the commitment and dedication of the physician community. It is observed on this date to commemorate the anniversary of the first time a patient was etherized in surgery in 1842. (The surgery was performed by Dr. Crawford W. Long in Jefferson, GA).
But did you know that March 30 is also the birthdate of one of America’s most influential ophthalmologists?
On this date in 1856, Dr. Edward Jackson (pictured), the first chair and co-founder of the American Board of Ophthalmology, was born in a small Quaker community outside of Philadelphia. Dr. Jackson spent decades of his long and esteemed professional career advocating for higher standards in the education and training of ophthalmologists. Under his leadership, a rigorous, peer-led certification process for ophthalmologists took shape—a process that would inspire specialty leaders across all of American medicine to create their own examination and certification programs. Dr. Jackson led the American Board for Ophthalmic Examinations, as it was then known, from 1916 through 1919, and remained part of the organization as a director for 11 years. He once described his beliefs as “the duty of each to do the most he can for the good of all”—a philosophy he applied to his life, his practice, and to the ethos of board certification.*
On this Doctors’ Day, the American Board of Ophthalmology invites you to share a story about an ophthalmologist who has inspired you. Perhaps it was a mentor who helped put you on the path to success early in your training or a peer who keeps you grounded on your toughest days. Share your story and we’ll post a tribute to the ophthalmologists who’ve inspired our diplomate community in a future edition of Diplomate Digest.
At the ABO, we remain inspired by you—and board-certified ophthalmologists everywhere who are promoting excellence in practice every day. Happy Doctors’ Day (and Edward Jackson Day) to you!
*Want to know more about the life and legacy of Dr. Edward Jackson (pictured here)? Here are some links for further reading:
O’Day DM, Ladden MR. The Influence of Derrick T. Vail Sr, MD, and Edward M. Jackson, MD, on the creation of the American Board of Ophthalmology and the specialist board system in the United States. Arch Ophthalmol. 2012;130(2):224-232.