2015 Parks Silver Medalist: Eugene M. Helveston, MD
Eugene McGillis Helveston was born in Detroit Michigan in 1934. Raised in the Detroit, he attended public schools through high school, and the University of Michigan where he received his BA in history in 1956 and MD degree in 1960.
Following a rotating internship, he studied ophthalmology at Indiana University from 1961 through 1966. This training was interrupted by military service in the US Army Corps 1962-64. He was a Heed Fellow atJohns Hopkins Hospital, Wilmer Eye Institute under the tutelage of his mentor, Gunter von Noorden, MD., and had the honor of being the first Wilmer Fellow to study on a regular part-time basis with Marshall M. Parks, MD who he valued as a mentor.
Dr. Helveston returned to Indiana University as Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology, founded the Section of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and quickly established a fellowship-training program. He rapidly rose through the Academic ranks, served as department chairman, and eventually became Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology in 2000.
Dr. Helveston served as Chair of the Council of the AAO, served on 4 AAO committees, and chaired the Home Study Course Section VI. He was president of AAPOS, the International Strabismological Association, the American Orthoptic Council, and as editor of the American Orthoptic Journal.
Dr. Helveston has received numerous honors including the Kellogg Scholar of the University of Michigan, the Humanitarian of the Year and Silver Recognition Award from the Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology, the Outstanding Humanitarian and Life Time Achievement award from the AAO, and the Distinguished Faculty Award from Indiana University School of medicine
Dr. Helveston has presented more than 20 Named Lectureships. These include The Costenbader Lecture, The Richard G. Scobee Memorial Lecture, the Bielschowsky Lecture, The first Gunter von Noorden Lecture, The William Mackinzie Lecture in Glasgow, and the first Angeline Parks Memorial Lecture in 1989. He has authored or co-authored three ophthalmology textbooks and more than 300 scientific papers, book chapters, reviews, and occasional papers.
International Ophthalmology has been a keen interest of Dr. Helveston as evidenced by over 25 Medical Missions, primarily with ORBIS, where he held several administrative positions after retiring from full time practice He founded ORBIS telemedicine – Cyber-Sight leading the program for 14 years, with a team of volunteers completed more than 12,000 tele- ophthalmology consultations. Cyber-Sight won the President's award from the American Telehealth Association for excellence in 2010.
Dr. Helveston’s passions and energy as a teacher define him. He has an uncanny ability to take complex topics and explain them in understandable terms, such as comparing Whitnall’s Ligament to a cloths-line, Lockwoods ligament to a hammock, and demonstrating that the superior oblique tendon moved like a telescope.
A prolific reader, he has enjoyed a life-time of study and personal growth within and beyond ophthalmology. He mentored fellows, residents, in the clinic and dozens junior colleagues from around the world via telemedicine, as teacher and student. The fellowship program at Indiana University, which he started, has trained the second largest number of fellows in the United States, and the program continues with a team that includes his two sons- in-law. A life-long enjoyment of fresh water boating remains a family passion.
However, Dr. Helveston’s greatest joy and abiding interest remains his family with daughters Martha and Lisa, 4 grandchildren, and his wife Barbara, with whom he resides in Indianapolis, IN.