June 25, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Ophthalmology Physician Leadership
Name:Randal Tanh Pham, M.D.
Specialty:Oculofacial Plastic Surgery
Randal Tanh Pham, M.D., a Silicon Valley oculofacial plastic surgeon, was recently honored with one of the inaugural UCSF Campaign Alumni Awards in the category of “The Innovators.” The awards honors individuals whose work has led to unexpected findings or outcomes that resulted in positive changes to the science or health care communities. Dr. Pham was recognized for his research that provided the first practical step towards eliminating blindness.
“The UCSF Campaign Alumni Awards were established as a way to recognize alumni whose work has made an impact on a local, national and global scale,” said Biana Roykh, DDS, MPH, president of the UCSF Alumni Association. “Throughout UCSF’s history, our graduates have made immense contributions toward solving some of the world’s most intractable health challenges by tackling the toughest questions in research and health care.”
In 1987, Dr. Pham began his research as a medical student at UCSF’s Francis I. Proctor Foundation looking for ways to prevent scarring of the eye and its adnexa. This work led him to pursue a lifetime research career on the use of lasers for the eye and the periorbital areas.
In 2002, he received the Best Clinical Science Award from the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery for his publication on the safe use of lasers around the eye. In 2017, he published the landmark paper that opened the ways for research to treat blindness combining the use of lasers for treatment of the front of the eye with those for finding healthy retina in the back of the eye.
This coupling of ophthalmic anterior segment with posterior segment sensory function devices provides the first practical step to eliminate blindness using intraocular technologies. This work took the bold step of helping blind patients who suffered from incurable and untreatable end-stage macular degeneration (when medical treatments were no longer options) to not only regain useful vision but also to be able to see without glasses. It is the dawn of the creation of bionic eyes with eagle vision for those who are currently considered permanently blind.
"It is an honor beyond measure for me to receive this award, considering the competition," said Dr. Pham. "I was very honored to be nominated by my classmates, but I never thought for once that I would be the finalist."
Dr. Pham is also well known for his commitment to organized medicine, and has been a member of the California Medical Association (CMA) and the Santa Clara County Medical Association for more than two decades. He has served as Chair of the CMA Ethnic Medical Organization Section (EMOS), and as a liaison to the CMA Board of Trustees representing EMOS. His previous leadership involvements include terms as delegate and alternate delegate to CMA’s House of Delegates. He has also been a member of the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) steering committee, public policy committee and Ethnic Physician Leadership Summit planning committee.