Dr. Straatsma graduated from Yale University School of Medicine, completed residency at Harkness Eye Institute of Columbia University, and did fellowships at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the Wilmer Ophthalmology Institute at Johns Hopkins University. In 1959, he commenced appointment as Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was appointed Professor in 1962, the first Director of the Jules Stein Eye Institute in 1964, and the first Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology in 1968. He retained these positions until stepping down in 1994 and continuing as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA.
Within two years after arriving at UCLA, Dr. Straatsma’s discussions with Dr. Jules Stein, Founding Chairman of MCA, Inc. and an ophthalmologist, led to Dr. Stein’s pledge of financial support for construction of the Jules Stein Eye Institute. This world-class facility opened in 1966 and facilities were greatly expanded by dedication of the Doris Stein Eye Research Center in 1989 and completion of the Edie and Lew Wasserman Eye Research Center in 2015.
Leadership positions of Dr. Straatsma have included President, American Ophthalmological Society; President, Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology; President, American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology; Chairman, American Board of Ophthalmology; President, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology; President, Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis; President, International Council of Ophthalmology Foundation; and Editor-in-Chief, American Journal of Ophthalmology.
More than 75 medals and awards received by Dr. Straatsma include the Columbia University Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, American Academy of Ophthalmology Laureate Award, American Ophthalmological Society Howe Medal and awards from the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, Middle East African Council of Ophthalmology, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology and International Council of Ophthalmology. Among more than 50 distinguished lectures, Dr. Straatsma presented the XXX Edward Jackson Lecture at the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Focused primarily on retinal disease and ophthalmic oncology, his Curriculum Vitae includes authorship of more than 585 scientific publications.