2021 UCLA S. Rodman Irvine Award presented to Dr. J. Bronwyn Bateman

Dr. J. Bronwyn-Bateman

Dr. Bronwyn Bateman, founder and first director of the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, was awarded the 2021 S. Rodman Irvine prize at the recent UCLA Stein Eye Institute annual meeting for residents, fellows and alumni. The Irvine award is the highest award conferred by the Stein Eye Institute, UCLA Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen School of Medicine.

The S. Rodman Irvine Prize of the Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was established to recognize excellence in the Department of Ophthalmology faculty. This Prize is conferred annually, on a UCLA Department of Ophthalmology faculty member whose relationships with patients and/or students is exemplary; whose professional actions illustrate the finest traditions of the medical profession and/or the vision science community, and whose teaching demonstrates a dedication to transmission of knowledge to future generations.

The Prize honors S. Rodman Irvine, M.D., who was a distinguished clinician, teacher, investigator, and humanitarian.  Dr. Irvine served as the Acting Chief of the then-Division of Ophthal-
mology at UCLA School of Medicine from 1949 to 1959.  During this period, he established the teaching and training program of the Division of Ophthalmology and planned the first Ophthalmology Outpatient Clinic at the UCLA Medical Center. The Irvine family remains as a pillar of ophthalmology in Los Angeles.

Dr. Bateman started her career as a carhop at Hody’s restaurant in Long Beach, California and her affiliation at UCLA began in 1974 as an internal medicine medical intern. After her training, she became a full-time faculty member and professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute as she was board-certified in both ophthalmology and medical genetics. She moved to Denver to assume the positions of Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at The Children’s Hospital.

She was the first woman chair of a department at the University of Colorado School of Medicine – and in a surgical department, no less! She formalized many aspects of the ophthalmology residency, created three fellowships and recruited faculty. She formed bonds with the Lions of Colorado and Wyoming and built the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute as an anchor tenant on the Anschutz Medical Campus. She continued her National Eye Institute funded research program on the genetic causes of pediatric cataracts.

She was the first woman president of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (ophthalmology department chairs) and the second women president of the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology. For many years, she was the Honorary Consul from Nicaragua to Colorado.

In 2010, she left the University of Colorado and returned to UCLA. At UCLA, she has worked with colleagues to create a unique training program leading to board certification in both ophthalmology and medical genetics, and with a research year; she anticipates that the program will be popular and provide medical schools nationwide with academic specialists interested in research of genetic diseases of the eye.

She has worked with colleagues in Venezuela and Peru to establish a training program for ophthalmologists from Nicaragua and Honduras at the Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute in Miami. She continues to give presentations to Latin American ophthalmologists and work on her Spanish.