News and notices. Comm Eye Health Vol. 15 No. 43 2002. October 01, 2002

Professor Gordon Johnson’s ‘retirement’

On 1st March, 2002, Gordon Johnson retired as Rothes Professor of Preventive Ophthalmology and Director of the Department of Epidemiology and International Eye Health (International Centre for Eye Health), Institute of Ophthalmology, London. Professor John son was also Honorary Consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

The International Centre for Eye Health was founded in 1981 by Professor Barrie Jones and Gordon Johnson succeeded Professor Jones as Director in 1986.

Professor Johnson’s impressive list of degrees and other qualifications have been followed by well over 100 published research papers and review articles, a number of book chapters and the standard text book, ‘The Epidemiology of Eye Disease’, with Darwin Minassian and Robert Weale (Chapman & Hall, 1998). A surprise tribute to mark his final year in post followed the Oxford Epidemiology Conference at Trinity College, Oxford, in March, 2001. Dr Allen Foster gave an account of ‘the Prof’s’ life and career and superb musical items were sung by members of staff.

For over 15 years Professor Johnson has led the team at ICEH, in research, training courses and the provision of international resources, including our Journal. The Centre has become well known and renowned throughout the world, working closely with the World Health Organization (a Collaborating Centre), Universities and other Academic Centres, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and the International Non-Governmental Development Organisations, especially Christian Blind Mission International (CBMI) and Sight Savers International (SSI). Close ties with Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists have been fostered during these years. The alumni of former students reaches across the continents and around the world.

A farewell dinner took place in London on 28th February, 2002, when Professor Johnson was presented with a bound volume of the Journal of Community Eye Health. It was in 1986 that I approached Professor Johnson with the idea of a Journal for developing countries. He energetically encouraged this vision and financial support was later given by CBMI and SSI. The first issue of the Journal appeared in 1988 and now reaches 175 countries.

‘Retirement’ is certainly a misnomer – Professor Johnson, for example, is currently working on the second edition of ‘The Epidemiology of Eye Disease’….. He was a speaker and chairman at the recent International Congress of Ophthalmology in Sydney, Australia, in April 2002…..

Professor Gordon Johnson’s high academic standards, leadership, personal awareness and sensitivity with his colleagues and many friendships, together with sheer hard work has made all of this possible – and, further, has given to many of us a sense of commitment and much valued fulfilment in our vocations and work towards the prevention of world blindness.

Thank you, Gordon.

News and notices in Comm Eye Health Vol. 15 No. 43 2002 –