Sept. 27 2016 | Joseph G. Chacko, M.D., professor of ophthalmology and neurology in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine, was invested Sept. 26 in the Sally McSpadden Boreham Chair in Ophthalmology.

Chacko has been the director of neuro-ophthalmology at the UAMS Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute since 2005.

An endowed chair is the highest academic honor a university can bestow on its faculty. A chair can honor the memory of a loved one or may honor a person’s accomplishments. It is supported with donations of $1 million, with the chair holder using the interest proceeds for research, teaching or service activities.

Presenting Chacko with the chair medallion were UAMS Provost and Chief Academic Officer Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., and Christopher T. Westfall, M.D.,director of the Jones Eye Institute.

Chacko Westfall UAMS

Westfall (right) said Chacko was “very deserving of this recognition.”

“Dr. Joseph Chacko’s service, educational and humanitarian contributions to this university are truly noteworthy,” said Westfall. “He is very deserving of this recognition and we are fortunate to have him as a senior member of our faculty.”

John P. Shock, M.D., JEI’s founding director and chairman emeritus, also praised Chacko.

“Dr. Chacko has been an outstanding team member of the Jones Eye Institute and is highly deserving of this prestigious award,” said Shock. “Mrs. Boreham would be extremely proud to have an academician of Dr. Chacko’s caliber to serve as the chair holder.”

Byron L. Lam, M.D., Chacko’s mentor and a professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, said Chacko’s passion for teaching would serve UAMS well.

“His love of teaching has shown from the beginning,” said Lam. “He’s devoted to academics, research and the clinic and his patients.”

John Shock UAMS

“Mrs. Boreham would be extremely proud” to have Chacko serve as chair holder, said John P. Shock, M.D., founding director of JEI.

Chacko earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, now Drexel University College of Medicine, in 1991. He completed a residency in ophthalmology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University in 1995 and a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami in 2005.

Chacko has more than two decades experience as an ophthalmologist and has participated in annual surgical mission trips to Ghana and Guatemala since 1997 to promote better vision worldwide. His research interests include diseases of the optic nerve and visual pathway including ischemic optic neuropathy, giant cell arteritis, and divergence insufficiency.

Chacko is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology since 1996. He is a member of the Arkansas Medical Society, Society for the History of Medicine and the Health Professions, and a Fellow in the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society.

“I am extremely honored to receive the Sally McSpadden Boreham Chair in Ophthalmology,” said Chacko. “Mrs. Boreham’s generosity allows the Jones Eye Institute to continue the fight against blindness in Arkansas through clinical treatment, research and education.”

Sally McSpadden Boreham was a longtime supporter of the Jones Eye Institute until her death in 2007. Her generous gift to UAMS, to support research, education and patient care in ophthalmology, made possible the Sally McSpadden Boreham Chair. Boreham grew up in Los Angeles and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority and the First Baptist Church of Fort Smith. She had two daughters and five grandchildren.