50 Years of Oculoplastics

Events // News // Oculofacial // White Coat Society // Oct 28 2016

Oculoplastics fellowship graduates, physicians and friends came together September 30 – October 1 to celebrate major milestones in the history of the Department’s Oculoplastics Service. In 2016 an 18-year effort was culminated with the endowment of the Richard K. Dortzbach Professorship in Ophthalmic Facial Plastic Surgery. Only a handful of such endowed professorships in oculofacial surgery have been achieved nationwide. Also, 2017 marks the beginning of the 50th year of the Oculoplastics service at UW-Madison. Dr. Dortzbach returned to UW in 1968 from Birmingham, Alabama, to establish an oculoplastic service here after serving one of only three oculoplastics fellowships available nationwide.

The Oculofacial Celebration officially launched with a scientific conference beginning with visiting professor, Dr. James Katowitz, Professor of Ophthalmology and Director, Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, presenting “Balancing Function and Appearance: An Oculofacial Plastic Perspective.” Dr. Katowitz is recognized nationally and internationally for his expertise in pediatric oculoplastic surgery. The morning’s scientific meeting comprised case studies and presentations from former fellows and UW faculty. That afternoon at Lemke Facial Surgery, Dr. Deb Sherman led a state-of-the-art skills transfer program on facial fillers. Later, Dr. Lemke, who in 1998 initiated the campaign to endow the Dortzbach professorship, thanked the donors including former fellowship graduates, former patients and families and others who helped endow the professorship.

Dr. Dortzbach entertained the audience, relating the development of the field of oculoplastic surgery after World War II and vignettes about his former fellows. Twenty prior UW oculoplastic fellows and friends of the Department attended the celebration. According to Dr. Mark Lucarelli, service director and the inaugural Dortzbach Professor, the remarkable participation in this celebration demonstrates the very special relationships within the White Coat Society.

“Our history in ophthalmic plastic surgery has been truly extraordinary and we look forward to an equally bright future,” he said. “The resources available with the Dortzbach Professorship will help ensure that future.”

“Dortz” thanked his friend and colleagues for honoring him, “It was perfect in every way, and I shall cherish the memories forever.” The evening ended on a lively note with Dr. Cat Burkat leading a memorable Wisconsin version of Family Feud.