Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Health System has once again been ranked the nation’s best in ophthalmology by U.S. News & World Report in its 2019-2020 “Best Hospitals” rankings. This is the 18th time that Bascom Palmer has received the No. 1 ranking since the publication began surveying U.S. physicians for the rankings 30 years ago.
The Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine was ranked No. 9 in the U.S., a dramatic jump from No. 41 in 2018. In addition, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, which just earned National Cancer Institute designation, plus gastroenterology and GI surgery, and neurology and neurosurgery programs at the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics were recognized as “high performing” by the publication.
“It is a remarkable accomplishment to have two UHealth programs ranked in the nation’s top 10, and three more recognized for their strong performance,” said Edward Abraham, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth. “These high rankings are a tribute to our professionals’ deep commitment to delivering the best possible clinical care to every one of our patients.”
Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine, said the top 10 rankings also reflect the academic medical system’s commitment to clinical research and medical education. “Our scientists and clinicians work closely to accelerate the process of bringing new discoveries and treatments to patients in our clinics and hospital,” he said.
On a regional level, University of Miami Hospital and Clinics-UHealth Tower was ranked No. 3 in South Florida with the two “high performing” adult specialties of gastroenterology and GI surgery, and neurology and neurosurgery. UHealth Tower also had four “high performing” adult procedures/conditions: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), colon cancer surgery, heart failure and lung cancer surgery.
Serving as the Department of Ophthalmology at the Miller School of Medicine, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has long been recognized as a global leader in vision research, medical education and patient care.
“For more than five decades, we have been making life-changing discoveries in every field of ophthalmology, including innovative treatments for glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), optic nerve diseases, ocular oncology, and surgical procedures like removal of cataracts with intraocular lenses and surgery, correction of vision with Lasik, and retinal detachment repair,” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “Now our dedicated team of clinicians, scientists and educators are focusing on the future in keeping with our tradition of leadership in vision beyond 2020.”
Bascom Palmer has long been at the forefront of innovation in ophthalmology, advancing vision research in fields like gene therapy, retinal chips, orbital prostheses and stem cell therapy. “Our scientists are expanding knowledge about vision diseases and disorders at a rapid rate,” said Dr. Alfonso, who is chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology. “Our researchers work closely with our clinicians to translate their findings into leading-edge patient care.
“Currently, Bascom Palmer’s highly innovative Artificial Intelligence and Computer Augmented Vision Laboratory is developing personalized and customized digital glasses to augment vision of patients who have lost their vision from various conditions including glaucoma, macular and retinal diseases, or strokes,” Dr. Alfonso added. “We are also developing artificial intelligence algorithms – the first of their kind in the world – to rapidly diagnose and appropriately treat eye diseases.”
Bascom Palmer is the largest ophthalmic care, research and educational facility in the southeastern United States, treating more than 260,000 patients annually. The institute has patient care facilities in Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Naples, Plantation, and Coral Gables, and faculty members also staff the Miami and West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, Jackson Memorial Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
The Miller School’s Department of Otolaryngology was ranked in the nation’s top 10 for the first time. “Our research and clinical programs have reached a critical mass, and our patient outcomes are outstanding,” said Fred F. Telischi, M.D., chairman of otolaryngology, professor of neurological surgery and biomedical engineering, and the James R. Chandler Chair in Otolaryngology.
“Breaking into the top 10 in the nation is an honor for our dedicated faculty and staff, including surgeons, audiologists, biomedical engineers, speech pathologists, researchers, and psychologists,” said Dr. Telischi. “We collaborate with many other Miller School programs to deliver the best possible multidisciplinary care to our pediatric and adult ear, nose, and throat patients.”
The department’s luminary UHealth Ear Institute provides comprehensive and innovative care of ear, hearing and balance disorders, including the Children’s Hearing Program and the hereditary deafness clinical and research group, where more than 15 percent of the known genetic hearing loss mutations have been discovered.
Reflecting the department’s highly regarded auditory implant program, Dr. Telischi and Ivette Cejas, Ph.D., associate professor of otolaryngology and psychology, recently served as the principal scientific co-chairs of the 16th Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children organized by the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, with more than 1,200 participants from around the world.
“We have one of the largest academic head-neck cancer groups in the country at Sylvester,” said Dr. Telischi. “Our dynamic surgeons lead a well-established multidisciplinary oncology team, incorporating innovative techniques such as oral cancer screening, robotic technology, microvascular reconstruction, sentinel node identification, and a specialized postoperative care unit for these complex procedures.” Other highly regarded programs include the skull base tumor team, internationally recognized nasal breathing and sinus disorders clinics, and the acclaimed laryngology-voice program.
“I couldn’t be more proud to have the otolaryngology team recognized for their dedication to excellence in teaching, research and caring for our patients,” said Dr. Telischi.
The 2019-2020 “Best Hospitals” rankings are accessible at https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings and in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals” 2020 guidebook.