Three Moran Eye Center Physicians, Researchers Named Among the ‘Top 100 Women in Ophthalmology’

Mar 31, 2021 4:00 PM


The Ophthalmologist has named the John A. Moran Eye Center’s Kathleen B. Digre, Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, and Liliana Werner to its 2021 Power List of the Top 100 Women in Ophthalmology.

The magazine compiles a list of the most influential people in ophthalmology each year. The latest showcases the powerful impact of leading female professionals on ophthalmic clinical practice, research, education, and industry.

“In the past, The Power List has been dominated by men; women made up only 17 percent of the list in 2020,” said the magazine in a press release. “Following years of underrepresentation, the 2021 Power List aims to redress the balance and highlight the accomplishments of women in the field. The Ophthalmologist hopes that by shining a light on female leaders in ophthalmology, it is helping to address gender equality in the industry and highlight the challenges that many women face to advance.”

An independent judging panel chose the 100 women on the list from 1,168 nominations. View the Top 100 Women in Ophthalmology here and read the nominations of Digre, Hartnett, and Werner below.

Kathleen B. Digre, MD
Kathleen B. Digre, MD

Kathleen B. Digre, MD

Digre is one of the most universally respected minds in neuro-ophthalmology. She is recognized for her patient-centered, groundbreaking research related to intracranial hypertension, photophobia, disorders of the optic nerve, and women’s health. She started the University of Utah Headache Clinic, which created a care pathway to improve headache treatment and streamline access for patients. She also founded and directs the University’s Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, a multidisciplinary group focused on enhancing overall health and wellness for women. 

Digre helped found and directs the Neuro-Ophthalmology Virtual Education Library, the world’s definitive, open-access library of neuro-ophthalmology education materials. She is also a founder of the John A. Moran Eye Center’s Clinical Ophthalmology Resource for Education, the first open-access, peer-reviewed, multimedia ophthalmology education resource of its kind.

Digre has received two of the highest honors at the University of Utah: the Rosenblatt Award and the rank of Distinguished Professor. She served as president of the American Headache Society, which recently presented her with the John R. Graham Lecture Award to recognize her international leadership in research and education. Digre is a past recipient of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s William F. Hoyt Award and is an Honorary Doctor of the University of Zurich. Digre has been on the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmologyeditorial board for more than twenty-five years and is an ad hoc reviewer for more than twenty other academic journals.

Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, MD
Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, MD

Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, MD

One of only a handful of pediatric retinal specialists in the United States, Hartnett is a widely respected vitreoretinal surgeon and a global leader in angiogenesis research

Informed by insights from her compassionate patient care, Hartnett’s research discoveries are changing retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) treatment approaches. In ROP, Hartnett’s discoveries are allowing doctors to identify a drug dosage that can curb blood vessel growth leading to ROP yet still allow a premature infant’s eyes to develop normally.

In AMD, her most recent research has shown one kind of abnormal vessel growth may protect sight if the growth can be compartmentalized. She’s now working to identify a potential new therapy based on the discovery. 

Hartnett holds the rank of Distinguished Professor at the University of Utah and the Calvin S. and JeNeal N. Hatch Presidential Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Hartnett is a co-chair for the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women and directs the non-profit Women’s Eye Health. She has addressed gender disparities in her research and is an advocate for gender-specific research to reduce disease burden. She is the current president-elect of the International Society for Eye Research and was recently appointed to the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Realizing the difficulty in caring for and teaching how to care for children with pediatric retinal conditions caused by many different rare diseases, Hartnett developed the first Pediatric Retina textbook, now being updated for its third edition.

Liliana Werner, MD, PhD
Liliana Werner, MD, PhD

Liliana Werner, MD, PhD

Werner co-directs the Intermountain Ocular Research Center at the Moran Eye Center and is one of the world’s leading experts on intraocular lenses (IOLs). Her research is centered on the interaction between ocular tissues and different IOL designs, materials, and surface modifications. These include IOLs implanted after cataract surgery, phakic lenses for refractive surgery, and ophthalmic implantable devices in general.

She has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on the subject, co-edited three books and received numerous awards in international meetings for scientific presentations, videos, and posters. Werner has been a guest speaker in different international meetings in at least 20 countries. She is a consultant for various companies manufacturing IOLs and other ocular biodevices and a consultant for the Food and Drug Administration. 

Werner also is the U.S. associate editor of the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and chairs the Continuing Medical Education Committee of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. 

She was recently named the Moran Eye Center’s inaugural Vice-Chair for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, dedicated to serving patients and the greater public health community in an anti-racist and anti-discriminatory environment by creating a broad-based organization focused on clinical care, caregiver education, and basic and translational research.

The Ophthalmologist in 2018 named Werner to its Power List of the Top 100 most influential people in ophthalmology.

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