NIH Selects Dr. Michael Chiang as Director of the National Eye Institute

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BETHESDA, Md.—The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has named Michael F. Chiang, MD, as director of NIH’s National Eye Institute (NEI). A practicing ophthalmologist, Dr. Chiang is currently the Knowles Professor of Ophthalmology & Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), in Portland, and is associate director of the OHSU Casey Eye Institute. Chiang is expected to begin his new role as the NEI director in late 2020, according to a post on the NIH website.

NEI conducts and supports research and training into blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight and the special health problems and requirements of the visually impaired.

“Dr. Chiang brings extensive experience as a clinician, researcher and educator to NIH. His work in biomedical informatics and telehealth research are particularly important for the future of vision research,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH. “I look forward to having him join the NIH leadership team later this year. I also want to recognize Santa J. Tumminia, PhD, for her dedicated leadership in serving as the acting director of NEI since October 2019.”

As director, Dr. Chiang will oversee NEI’s annual budget of nearly $824 million, the large majority of which supports vision research through approximately 1,600 research grants and training awards made to scientists at more than 250 medical centers, universities and other institutions across the country and around the world. NEI research leads to sight-saving treatments, reduces visual impairment and blindness and improves the quality of life for people of all ages.

The institute also conducts laboratory and patient-oriented research at its own facilities on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Chiang’s own research involves telemedicine and artificial intelligence for diagnosis of retinopathy of prematurity and other ophthalmic diseases, implementation and evaluation of electronic health record systems, modeling of clinical workflow and data analytics. He has been a principal investigator on multiple NIH grants since 2003, and he and his research group have published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal papers. Dr. Chiang’s clinical practice focuses on pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus.

Dr. Chiang is past chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Medical Information Technology Committee and has served as an at-large member of the AAO’s board of trustees.