The 6th Gass Fellowship Society Meeting was held at the SLS Hotel in Las Vegas on November 12, 2015, during the American Academy of Ophthalmology conference. The Gass Fellowship Society had its inaugural meeting in 2008 on Oahu, Hawaii, and is held bi-annually. The Society was founded and is led by Dr. Gregg T. Kokame (Bascom Palmer Eye Institute coordinator) and Dr. Alex P. Hunyor (Vanderbilt coordinator).
The Gass Society was created out of the vision of bringing together those who were strongly influenced by the late Dr. J. Donald M. Gass through his teachings and observations. His endearing, humbleness, unpretentious personality, and his infectious enthusiasm inspired others to expand and grow their knowledge of macular diseases. He influenced so many of his fellows in ways that extended well beyond his role as the ultimate retinal clinician and teacher. Dr. Gregg Kokame looks up to Dr. Gass as one of his most influential mentors.
This society consists of fellows and co-faculty from BPEI and Vanderbilt, as well as close colleagues from around the nation and the world who were touched by Dr. Gass. The goal of the Gass Fellowship Society is to continue the work of Dr. Donald Gass by those who were most influenced by him. One of the greatest accomplishments of the Society has been Dr. Anita Agarwal’s work on the 5th Edition of the Gass Atlas, the trusted authority for macular diseases, which was published in 2012.
This year was a very special meeting, as it marked the 10th Anniversary of the passing of Dr. Gass. The meeting was attended by almost 40 members, who shared their very interesting cases and fond memories of Dr. Gass. Those in attendance were also current fellows of members, one of which was our Research Fellow, Dr. Jessica Shantha. Dr. Shantha presented an interesting case that she and Dr. Kokame have been following. Her presentation sparked much discussion between the members in attendance. It was quite exciting to witness these “masters” in their field exchange their opinions so passionately.
The Gass family sent a touching letter to the Society. Here is an excerpt:
“It is an honor and a privilege to address this gathering of ophthalmologists who are devoted to advancing their profession and improving the quality of life of millions of people here and worldwide. All of us in the Gass family are very grateful to you for sharing in our fond remembrance of Don Gass (aka Dad) and for the honor you have bestowed upon him in being a part of this fellowship society that bears his name. His wife, Margy Ann, and his children, John, Media, Dean, and I, and his grandchildren, all miss him dearly. We think of him often. We still see him in our dreams. “
The Gass Fellowship Society meeting continues to be a place where experts in the field of retinal disease can meet to discuss interesting cases and reflect upon the impact that Dr. Gass has left with each of the members. The Hawaii Macula Research Institute is honored to be a part of this meeting and to continue to help plan and support the Gass Fellowship Society.