Top 10 webThe UAB Department of Ophthalmology hit a major milestone in 2017. According to annual figures available through Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Ophthalmology is ranked 6th in the country in the amount of funding it receives from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with over $7.9 million in NIH grant support during calendar year 2017.

This is almost a 5-fold increase in research funding the department has garnered since beginning the Vision of Excellence program in 2012.  This ranking also establishes UAB Ophthalmology as the fastest growing ophthalmology department in the country over this period.

correct NIH Ranking 2018These highly competitive federal funds provide essential support for UAB Ophthalmology’s scientists to advance the department’s mission of translating knowledge from bench to bedside, providing robust training for the next generation of ophthalmologists, and improving eye health through the alleviation of blinding diseases. This achievement reflects the tremendous efforts of the Department’s researchers and further cements the Department as a nationally recognized leader in vision research. Moreover, it represents the significant growth in research capacity while further enhancing their ability to recruit and retain world-class researchers.

The Vision of Excellence initiative, sponsored by the Eyesight Foundation of Alabama, began in 2012 and was designed to provide the capital investment to move UAB Ophthalmology into a “Top 20” position in terms of NIH funding.  This effort, combined with the generous support from foundations like International Retinal Research Foundation, Research to Prevent Blindness, and several individual donors, has enabled the Department to attract and recruit a much larger interdisciplinary team of researchers than anticipated. The efforts of UAB Ophthalmology have been critical in the renewal and enhancement of the university-wide core grant and growth of the UAB vision science community. In fact, overall, UAB vision research exceeded over $11 million annually for 2017, which was second only to Johns Hopkins University.

OpthalmologyNIHRanking 03“While I was excited to hear the accolades for our department’s success, I am humbled by the understanding of all of the efforts from so many that has made this growth possible,” says Christopher A. Girkin, M.D., MSPH, EyeSight Foundation of Alabama Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology.  “I am also thankful for the foresight of our donors, supportive foundations, and the School of Medicine that has provided the support needed to invest in the best and brightest at UAB.  This achievement has been driven by our amazing team of researchers and clinician-scientists who have built this remarkable program through their ingenuity, dedication, and resilience.  It has been a profound honor for me to serve them as their chair through this period of change.”