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Bernard J. Dolan, OD, MS, FAAO
Member, Berkeley Optometry Hall of Fame

Bernard J. Dolan

Bernie Dolan was born in San Francisco, California. He earned his BS and MS in Biology at University of San Francisco where his life-long passion for teaching was awakened as he was appointed lecturer in the Evening College, teaching anatomy and physiology. He enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where he took graduate courses in anatomy and taught one night a week at USF while completing his Doctor of Optometry in 1980.

Dr. Dolan completed his residency in Hospital-Based and Rehabilitative Optometry at Kansas City VA Medical Center. During this year he attended his first American Academy of Optometry Meeting and met his wife Jane. Thus, his residency year provided the framework for his life as a career VA Optometrist, clinical teacher, author and lecturer, academy fellow including professional service, and family life.

Dr. Dolan was the first optometrist hired at San Francisco VA Medical Center and was appointed as a clinical instructor at UC Berkeley teaching weekly in the Ocular Disease Clinic. He taught advanced clinical skills workshops to the clinical faculty and joined the Optometry Alumni Board as director of education for Annual Meeting programs that included hands-on clinical skills seminars.

In 1985, Dr. Dolan established a residency program at San Francisco VA Medical Center affiliated with UC Berkeley, and in 1988 added a student rotation. The residency program grew in stature over the years to become one of the leading programs in medical optometry in the world. Many graduates of the program took teaching positions at UC Berkeley, colleges of optometry, other VA teaching programs, and departments of ophthalmology, positively impacting the quality of education across the nation. Dr. Dolan taught UCSF medical students and participated in the teaching of the UCSF ophthalmology residents. He rose to the rank of clinical professor both at UC Berkeley and UCSF Department of Ophthalmology. The SFVA clinic became a model for UCSF ophthalmology clinics, fundamentally changing their culture and relationship with optometry.

Giving hundreds of local, regional, state, national, and international continuing education lectures, Dr. Dolan has provided current evidence-based clinical practice concepts to practicing optometrists. In addition, he authored or co-authored numerous abstracts at meetings of the American Academy of Optometry and ARVO, sharing new observations and clinical teaching cases with his colleagues. His scholarly contributions include book chapters and numerous publications in the peer reviewed literature where he has published papers in every major ophthalmic journal.

Dr. Dolan has served on many Berkeley Optometry committees, including curriculum, peer review, and promotion, as well as numerous curriculum development committees for post-graduate courses as the profession increased the scope of patient care. His contributions to residency education include service to the Council of Optometric Education, as a member of the initial Residency Standards Development Taskforce and the initial Residency Committee. He provided essential guidance for the residency accreditation standards and the development of the residency accreditation process. He also chaired numerous residency accreditation site visits over his career. Editorial service includes two terms on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Optometric Association and Optometry and Vision Science, where he also served as an associate topical editor for many years.

Leadership roles include President of the Berkeley Optometry Alumni Association, President of the National Association of VA Optometrists, and President of the American Academy of Optometry, where he established a Joint Symposium with the American Academy of Ophthalmology. His service to the American Academy of Optometry also includes Chair of Committee on Admittance, Chair of Ethics Committee, and member of Nominating and Awards Committees.

Dr. Dolan has been honored as International Keynote Speaker, Southern Regional Congress, Melbourne, Australia; Thomas Peters Memorial Lecturer; Bernie Dolan Resident Mentor of the Year Award; Berkeley Optometry Alumnus of the Year; Tony Adams Eminent Service Award of the American Academy of Optometry; and American Academy of Optometry Hall of Fame.