Steven Yeh, MD, has been named the first recipient of the Stanley Truhlsen Jr. Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology in the UNMC Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.
The chair honors the legacy of the late Stanley Truhlsen Jr., a UNMC benefactor and son of distinguished UNMC ophthalmologist Stanley M. Truhlsen, MD. Stanley Truhlsen Jr. died in 2018.
Dr. Yeh is the recipient of the University of Nebraska Provost 2020 Program of Excellence Award given to an exceptionally qualified new faculty recruit who is aligned with the goals and mission of the university. The award comes with $250,000 in grant support.
Dr. Yeh, who joined UNMC on April 1, is a professor of ophthalmology and director of retinal disease and uveitis at the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute. His interests include infectious eye diseases and how they affect patients here and around the world.
"A patient's vision is very important for all aspects of life," Dr. Yeh said. "The combination of the medical science in ophthalmology and intervening medically and surgically appeals to me, especially when patients are going through chronic situations, which can be scary. Helping them navigate the complexities has long-term effects on their psycho-social aspects too."
Dr. Yeh came to UNMC from Emory University, where he served for 10 years as director of uveitis services. Uveitis is an inflammatory eye disease that can lead to vision impairment or blindness if left untreated. Juvenile arthritis also can cause eye problems including uveitis.
Dr. Yeh said he is honored to serve in Stanley Truhlsen Jr.'s name. "His vision to advance education and research to improve vision and translate technology and innovations can help here and globally," he said. "What we do will honor the endowment."
He said that the vision of department chair Ronald Krueger, MD, was a compelling factor is his decision to join UNMC.
"Dr. Krueger's vision for the department as a leader in global health aligns with what I am interested in -- things that are important to me," Dr. Yeh said. "UNMC's investment and leadership in global health education and research impressed me even before the pandemic began. As I learned about the campus and its investments in the institution, community and federal programs, I felt it was a very, very strong fit."
Dr. Yeh continues to be part of a global group funded by the National Institutes of Health that studies vision-related issues in Africa, particularly in Ebola survivors who develop eye infections after the disease has cleared from the blood stream. He said the work is translating to other infectious diseases including COVID-19.