Annual Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Research Program

The Rabb-Venable Research Award is named in honor of Dr. Maurice Rabb, Jr. and Dr. H. Phillip Venable, two pioneering African American ophthalmologists and researchers. Dr. Rabb, who died in 2005, was internationally known for his pioneering work in cornea and retinal vascular diseases. Dr. Venable was the first African American to join the faculty of Washington University in 1958. He died in 1989 and was well known in St. Louis for his efforts to educate and train young African American physicians in the field of ophthalmology.

Each year, medical students and ophthalmology residents/fellows are invited to apply for this research award. Research may be in any of the subspecialties of ophthalmology and emphasize the latest developments in the understanding, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of the many sight-threatening diseases and conditions which affect minority patients as well as the general population.


"If not now, then when?"

The events of the past few weeks have brought much shock, sadness, anger and reflection to our nation. Sensitivity and cultural expertise/competency are skills needed to practice as we educate our colleagues and communities.

Now more than ever initiatives such as the Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology program, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, are part of the solution. RV aims to increase our workforce to reflect the population, to increase diversity of ideas in our profession, and to help decrease systemic racism resulting from centuries of unequal treatment. Drs. Rabb and Venable combated the inequities of their time by excelling as a form of protest. They helped to increase training opportunities for and mentored many minorities along the way. They taught by example and accepted nothing short of excellence from themselves and their students.

This year the program has been expanded to give you more tools to excel. Speaker training, communication and negotiating skills, techniques for framing scientific questions, personal preparation for interviewing, and chances to work with different mentors are some of the areas which will help you become future leaders.

We challenge you to find other minority candidates not only to interest them in the field of ophthalmology but also to participate in the RV program. You need to mentor individuals coming up the ladder to be the best. You can work hard at practicing the exercises we provide to you and network with the individuals who will speak to you over the next years in your career.

We will tap into sponsors that will vouch for you to further your careers.

We are working on updating the website. If you have ideas for its content or programming, please don't hesitate to contact us. Drs. O'Rese Knight and Dolly Padovani-Claudio have been added to the RV program to help you reach your personal and professional goals.


National Medical Association's Rabb Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Program Virtual Meeting:

  1. 2020 Abstract Booklet
  2. Fireside Chat Booklet