Himalayan Cataract Project - eChievement Award - eTown

Dr. Geoff Tabin is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Himalayan Cataract Project and the John A and Marva M Presidential Endowed Chair and Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director of the Division of International Ophthalmology at the John A. Moran Eye Center and University of Utah. He has published more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, two books and a dozen book chapters related to his work in ophthalmology and the developing world. As of July 1, 2017 he will become the Fairweather Chair and a Professor of Ophthalmology and Global Medicine at Stanford University.

Dr. Tabin is the fourth person in the world to reach the tallest peak on each of the seven continents. His passion for mountain climbing directed him to his professional career in eye care. After summiting Mt. Everest, on one of his expeditions, he came across a Dutch team performing cataract surgery on a woman who had been needlessly blind for three years. It was then he understood his life calling.

Tabin graduated from Yale University and then earned an MA in Philosophy at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. From there, he took his interest in moral philosophy and health care delivery to Harvard Medical School where he earned his MD in 1985. After completing an ophthalmology residency at Brown University and a fellowship in corneal surgery in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Tabin returned to Nepal to work with Dr. Sanduk Ruit.

Tabin and Nepalese eye surgeon Dr. Sanduk Ruit established the Himalayan Cataract Project in 1995 – with a vow to work to eliminate all preventable and treatable blindness from the Himalayan region in their lifetime, a goal, in Tabin’s words, “more audacious than setting out to make the first assent of the East Face of Mount Everest.” Dr. Ruit, whom the Associated Press heralded as the “god of sight” to the world’s poor, and Tabin have proven that hospital quality standards can be applied in impoverished areas devoid of electricity and clean water. Their successful approach to restoring sight and dogged perseverance has made possible what 20 years ago seemed impossible.

The Himalayan Cataract Project has since expanded beyond the Himalayas to encompass Sub-Saharan Africa as well. Dr.Tabin spends a considerable part of the year working abroad throughout the Himalayas and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Tabin is a leader in both the national and international ophthalmic community. He is a member of the International Education Committee for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and teaches a course on cataract surgery at both the AAO and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS).

The inspiring and extraordinary work of HCP Co-Founders Tabin and Ruit is the subject of the book by David Oliver Relin, SecondSuns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives (Random House).

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