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2018 Outstanding Humanitarian Award: Dr. David Heiden, MD

Dr. David Heiden, MDAt Pacific Eye Associates, all of our doctors are the creme de la creme.  All of them received their medical degrees from the best universities, however, their accolades don’t stop there.  Dr. David Heiden recently received the 2018 Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  This award recognizes Dr. Heiden for his groundbreaking work in blindness prevention techniques to HIV/AIDS patients in a politically unstable and poverty-stricken environment.

Ground Breaking Work

Every year there are millions of patients in need of eye care yet not enough ophthalmologists available.  Dr. Heiden has always believed that local primary care physicians could be trained to screen for ophthalmological infections.  Dr. Heiden’s strong conviction led him to reach out to organizations like Seva Foundation, Doctors without Borders and the Clinton Foundation.  With the collaboration of Doctors without Borders, Dr. Heiden was able to start his training project in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  He expanded his teachings and techniques to a maximum security prison in Bangkok.  Then, he trained local doctors at Mother Teresa’s AIDS Hospice in South Africa.  As well as in Yangon Myanmar, the then site of the most neglected AIDS epidemic in Southeast Asia.  His most noteworthy project, the Clinton Foundation gained him an entry in one of the most politically unstable site of the worst AIDS epidemic in China: Urumqi in Xinxiang Province.

Nearly 15 years after his first AIDS mission, Dr. Heiden’s blindness prevention techniques are recognized as highly effective.

Who is Dr. Heiden?

In a few words, Dr. Heiden is an extremely humble doctor who is caring, thorough and thoughtful.  He is an exceptional doctor who is board certified in internal medicine and ophthalmology.  Dr. Heiden completed his uveitis fellowship in ophthalmology at one of the most elite programs, the Proctor Foundation at UCSF Medical School.  In addition to his ophthalmological accomplishments, he spent a dozen years as an emergency room doctor which lead him to work in refugee disaster areas.  During these trips, Dr. Heiden documented his work in photographs.  These images have been published in a book.  As well as, in numerous magazines, newspapers, and are displayed at the SF MOMA museum.

A few images from his book, “Dust to Dust, A Doctor’s View of Famine in Africa”.

A child blind from lack of vitamin A. Fau 3 refugee camp.

Hospital Patient with malnutrition and pneumonia. Fau 3 refugee camp, March 1985.

The pharmacy. Fau 3 refugee camp, March 1985.

What do his patients say about him?

Dr. Heiden is attentive and kind.” Feb 21, 2018

Dr. Heiden explained my eye condition and explained everything that he was doing. He is friendly, listens and answered all my questions and concerns.” Feb 10, 2018

Dr. Heiden is great. After seeing other ophthalmologists, I consider myself lucky to have found him.” Feb 6, 2018

How do I become a patient of Dr. Heiden’s?

Dr. Heiden is taking new patients and to schedule an appointment with him, please request an appointment or call us at 415-923-3007.



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2100 Webster St, San Francisco, CA 94115