PAAO President’s Message

May 2023

Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD
PAAO President, 2022-2025

Dear Pan-American friends,

This month, rather than a “chat with a president”, I chatted with Jane Aguirre, Vice President for Membership and Alliances for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, on the eve of her retirement.

Jane has been a friend and supporter of the Pan-American for many, many years. We will miss seeing her at Academy meetings, PAAO meetings, and other international events. We wish her health and happiness in this new chapter of her life.


Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD
PAAO President, 2022-2025
Editor-in-Chief, The PAJO


PD: Of course you are a well known person for most of the Pan-Americans but our society is getting the membership of many young doctors that (maybe) do not know your fabulous history. Would you be so kind, please, to give us a brief summary of this wonderful journey (such as where you were born, education, etc.)?

JA: I was fortunate to be hired by the Academy when I moved to San Francisco in 1981. The Academy had recently separated from otolaryngology and under the leadership of Dr. Bruce Spivey moved from Rochester, Minnesota to San Francisco.

But to start at the beginning. I was born and raised in Manhattan. My father was Ecuadorian, and I visited Guayaquil in the summertime – unfortunately my cousins were in school when I was on vacation. However, I loved experiencing the culture, food, knowing all my relatives, and of course, sharpening my Spanish.  I travelled frequently during my childhood to other countries and many states in the U.S.

I graduated from the City University of New York with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I taught first grade for a few years, then enrolled at Adelphi University for a program in non-profit management. This led to a job with the American Heart Association in Philadelphia where I met my first husband and moved to San Francisco. Although the marriage didn’t last, my career at the Academy compelled me to stay in San Francisco.

The Academy has given me so many opportunities from membership to practice management to EyeNet magazine to international – and through these opportunities I’ve connected with so many wonderful ophthalmologists around the world. I am forever grateful for this.

I should add that I remarried and have two adult daughters, Alexandra and Zoe. Both of whom have grown up in the Academy family.

Ms. Jane Aguirre

San Francisco, CA USA
email: [email protected]

  • Vice President for Membership and Alliances, American Academy of Ophthalmology

PD: You went to and participated in so many AAO, PAAO, and other international meetings. Any special one? A special memory?

JA: There are many special memories! With PAAO, I’ll always remember the wonderful parties organized by the Sociedad Colombiana de Oftalmologia, tango dancing in Buenos Aires, amazing food in Lima, and the beauty of Rio de Janeiro. In each place it was making memories with very special people that will stay close to my heart.

PD: Also there were so many AAO and PAAO presidents. Of course it is not a good thing to choose one among so many professionals, but could you name one that made a difference, either for the Association or for you personally?

JA: Of course, I was very close with Richard Abbott, President of the Academy and of PAAO. We worked together for over 30 years, including his six years as the Academy’s Secretary for Global Alliances. He has made so many contributions to ophthalmology worldwide and remains a dear friend.

PD: Tell us about how you see the field of Ophthalmology nowadays and what do you think the future holds for this specialty.

JA: Ophthalmology is and will remain the best specialty. It attracts the brightest and most innovative physicians, it changes people’s lives for the better, and is a close-knit group. Ophthalmic societies provide incredible value for their members through the tireless work of volunteer ophthalmologists and dedicated staff worldwide. I feel so fortunate to be associated with this specialty and with the Academy.

PD: Now it is time to retire and enjoy your time, any special message to your fans and admirers?

JA: I will not disappear…I plan to stay connected with ophthalmology and ophthalmologists going forward. Truly, I can’t imagine my life without an ophthalmology connection. I welcome messages to my personal email and of course visits when in San Francisco. I plan to attend the Academy this November and hope to see many friends.

Abrazos a todos! Abraços a todos!