Mass. Eye and Ear Opens Office of Global Surgery and Health

July 08, 2013

New Initiative Made Possible by Gift from Carmella Kletjian

Contact: Mary Leach

BOSTON (July 8, 2013) – Overshadowed by the toll taken by HIV/AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases, rates of death and disability stemming from ophthalmic and ear, nose and throat conditions continue to rise. Most cases of preventable blindness and treatable deafness occur in the developing world, and most go unanswered, needlessly incapacitating millions of children and adults. Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate, has announced the opening of the new Office of Global Surgery and Health, which will enhance global surgical and health education and outreach to address the growing need for ophthalmologists and otolaryngologists in the developing world.

The Offglobal 20surgery 20press 20releaseice of Global Surgery and Health was made possible through the generosity of Carmella Kletjian, who established the Steven C. and Carmella R. Kletjian Endowed Chair in Global Surgery. Mack L. Cheney, M.D., a long-time Mass. Eye and Ear physician and Harvard Medical School Professor of Otology and Laryngology, is the first incumbent of the Kletjian chair.

“This is the first-ever Mass. Eye and Ear based Chair and the first Chair in Global Surgery at an academic medical institution. With this gift as a cornerstone, we are proud to be launching the Office of Global Surgery and Health. Funding from endowed chairs is what enables our gifted physicians to pursue some of the most innovative clinical initiatives and transformational research,” said Joan W. Miller, M.D., FACS, Chief of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

“The need is overwhelming,” said Dr. Cheney. “The developing world accounts for 80% of the 360 million people worldwide with disabling hearing loss and 90% of the 345 million people who are visually impaired or blind.”

The Office of Global Surgery and Health works with in-country training hospitals and medical schools to build and improve the educational infrastructure of local ophthalmology and otolaryngology departments, expanding their capacity and improving quality of local care.

For more information about the Office of Global Surgery and Health, visit

About Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. After uniting with Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear in Boston became the world's largest vision and hearing research center, offering hope and healing to patients everywhere through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships. Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals Survey” has consistently ranked the Mass. Eye and Ear Departments of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology as one of the top five in the nation.