Simmons International Glaucoma Fellowship
at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston

The Simmons International Glaucoma Fellowship at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston (OCB) has been established at the time of the death of Dr. Ruthanne B. Simmons (11/8/2003) to support the clinical and research training of young ophthalmologists from abroad in the medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma. The fellowship represents the ongoing embodiment of the crusade of Dr. Ruthanne B. Simmons in her professional life and is intended to perpetuate the exceptional qualities she displayed throughout her medical career. These include an impelling drive for excellence and a quest to constantly improve methods of battling major eye diseases, especially blinding glaucoma. They include a compassion for her patients combined with a captivating, joyful energy that conveyed security and confidence to those under her healing care. While dedicating her energies to the needs of her patients she inspired her colleagues, her staff, and her students with a remarkable enthusiasm for life. These qualities she taught by example and by direct daily mentoring of young doctors who worked under her in apprenticeship through the glaucoma fellowship she supervised. These fellows were physicians who had completed their residencies in ophthalmology and who came to Boston to work under Dr. Simmons’ mentorship. Frequently, the fellows had already been in practice for several years prior to coming to the United States for their 1-2 year fellowship training.

The Simmons Fellowship program began in 1976 when her father, Richard J. Simmons, MD, began to accept fellows from other states, then other countries, to come and work under his supervision at Harvard Medical School and the Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary. This program became quite popular, and, in the late 1970’s the young college student, Ruthanne Simmons, began to work with the fellows under her father on clinical-medical research projects and writings. By the time she had entered Harvard Medical School in 1983, Ruthanne she had already coauthored several medical book chapters with her father.

From these years on forward “Dr. Ruthanne” (as many of her patients fondly referred to her) found training young ophthalmologists one of her most valuable and rewarding contributions because she knew that each fellow, when made wiser and more skillful, would go into the world to spread their skills beyond known limits. The Simmons team trained, in the entirety of the program, 82 fellows including 35 who were Harvard certified and 47 who were international fellows representing 20 different countries.

The Simmons International Fellowship at OCB has been established to carry forward the program begun in 1976 by the senior Dr. Simmons and developed and nourished by Dr. Ruthanne Simmons through the 1990’s and into the 21st century. Fellowship funds will be used to support the clinical training of these international fellows under the supervision of OCB Glaucoma specialists and to support research by the fellows on clinical issues directly applicable to the care of patients with glaucoma and cataract.