Oscar A. Cruz, M.D., chair of the department of ophthalmology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, was invested as the inaugural holder of the Anwar Shah Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology on Tuesday, March 3, 2009.
"I first came to an academic institution because I love to do research and teach the next generation of eye doctors," said Cruz, who is a SLUCare pediatric ophthalmologist. "Holding the Anwar Shah Endowed Chair will allow me to pursue my passion and to meet the goals of my department. I enjoy teaching, and came to SLU because I wanted to be at a place where teaching is important."
Anwar Shah, M.D., an ophthalmologist who specialized in treating retinal diseases, long-time benefactor and former Saint Louis University faculty member, endowed the ophthalmology chair last June.
"Anwar Shah was a visionary leader in ophthalmology in St. Louis," Cruz said. "It's an honor to be the inaugural holder of the chair that bears his name."
A middle school teacher before he became a physician, Cruz has been on the faculty of Saint Louis University School of Medicine in the departments of ophthalmology and pediatrics since 1992. He was named director of pediatric ophthalmology at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in 1993 and appointed chair of the department of ophthalmology in 2000.
Cruz conducts clinical research into the causes and treatments for strabismus -- commonly known as crossed eyes -- in children. He also studies amblyopia -- or lazy eye -- which is the most common cause of vision problems in children.
His research on pediatric eye diseases has been funded by the National Institutes of Health. Cruz also researches educational policy questions at academic medical centers.
He is the author of numerous articles, abstracts and book chapters, and a frequent presenter and invited lecturer at local and national ophthalmology meetings.
Cruz received his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine where he was selected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society. He served a transitional internship at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston before completing his residency in ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine. Cruz then completed a fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, which is part of the University of Miami School of Medicine system.
Cruz is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. He is a scientific reviewer for several journals, including the Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus; the American Journal of Ophthalmology; Ophthalmology; and Archives of Ophthalmology. In 2008 Cruz received a gubernatorial appointment to serve as vice-chair of Missouri Children's Vision Commission.
A member of the St. Louis Ophthalmology Society, Cruz serves on the professional advisory board of the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments. Cruz is a fellow in the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology, where he serves as an associate examiner.
He is a member and serves on several committees for the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. He also serves on the board of directors for the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology.
Cruz received an honor award in 2000 from the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and the 2003 American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award. This year, he was elected to membership in the Squint Club.