Monday, 27 February 2017

Monash Ophthalmology’s Head of Department receives academic promotion

Associate Professor Chen
Head of Ophthalmology Department at Monash Health, Christine Chen has been promoted to Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).

Since joining Monash Ophthalmology as only the second female head of a surgical unit at Monash Health, Associate Professor Chen has established a dedicated trial clinic and made significant contributions to public eye health care delivery and research.

Associate Professor Chen’s research interests include new modalities of ocular imaging such as spectral domain ocular coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT angiography, and how these advances further our understanding of age-related macular degeneration and enable personalised treatment regimes.

She also has an interest in ocular genetics, particularly in how the breakthroughs with CRISPR/Cas-based editing could be applied to ophthalmic diseases as well as the consent process and ethical implications for its therapeutic application.

Associate Professor Chen established a number of subspecialty clinics, including Paediatrics, Cornea, Oculoplastics, Medical and Surgical Retina clinics and increased elective surgical throughput by 50%, cementing Monash Ophthalmology as the second largest ophthalmology service provider in Victoria and Monash’s commitment to deliver accessible tertiary public eye health care.

Associate Professor Chen said she is very honoured and proud to have her achievements recognised.

“Surgery is a selfish practice and requires generous support personally, professionally and beyond,” said Associate Professor Chen.

“My generation is extremely fortunate to have the choice of education and career, however, there is a price associated with these choices that is not often talked about.”

“The ‘have it all’ image for the modern woman is unrealistic and places women in an unsustainable position. Just as men have wives, women need to enlist the assistance of their life partner,1 accept some difficult sacrifices particularly at the home front and as a society, allow men to break the nursery ceiling,” said Associate Professor Chen.

“The Monash environment has allowed me to pursue a surgical and academic career as well as starting a family. Whilst I struggle to find a balance between a 17-month-old, marriage and work, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and am determined to lean in to sit at the table.2

Associate Professor Chen acknowledges the entire Monash Ophthalmology team, particularly Linda Santamaria, for her support both personally and professionally, and Professor Julian Smith for being a ‘fantastic mentor’. And last but not least, her husband.

1     Annabel Crabb. The Wife Drought: Why women need wives and men need lives. Random House; 2014.

2      Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook). Lean in: Women, work, and the will to lead. Random House; 2013.

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