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About Overview

ABOUT: History

Dr. Maurice Rabb, Jr. and Dr. Howard Phillip Venable led the way for African Americans in ophthalmology. We are honored to continue the legacy of these extraordinary eye doctors.

The Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology  Program is named in honor of Dr. Maurice Rabb, Jr. and Dr. Howard Phillip Venable, two outstanding African American ophthalmologists dedicated to patient care, teaching, and research.


Dr. Rabb, internationally recognized for his work in cornea and retinal vascular diseases, completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was the first Black chief resident at UIC in 1963 and remained on staff for 43 years. Dr. Rabb distinguished himself as an academician and administrator. He became a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Illinois, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Mercy Hospital, and Chancellor of the University of Illinois. He also served as an Examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology and was on the Council for the National Eye Institute.

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Dr. Venable was the first African American to join the faculty of Washington University in 1958. Throughout his career, he worked to recruit African Americans to the field of ophthalmology. To this end, he and his wife established the Katie and Howard Phillip Venable Student Research Fund in Ophthalmology at Washington University, which provided stipends for summer research. As Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis (now closed) from 1943-1979, Dr. Venable trained over 40 African American ophthalmologists. In 1994, Dr. Venable was awarded the Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Application Submission Deadline:
March 31, 2023


Notification of Program Finalists:
May 30, 2023


NMA Annual Convention:

July 28-31, 2023


Lead a life of significance – practice ophthalmology in an underserved community.


Rabb-Venable participants and award winners are changing lives, improving access to eye care in underserved communities and among minority patients.
Join us in making a difference. 
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