First woman appointed to role of Master of the Oxford Congress

Moorfields Eye Hospital is pleased to announce that Miss Parul Desai, consultant in public health and ophthalmology, is the first woman to be appointed to the prestigious role of Master of the Oxford Ophthalmological Congress.

First established in 1909.the congress is one of the oldest and largest meetings of ophthalmologists in the UK and Europe and maintains  its status as a key meeting to hear about advances in ophthalmology by attracting distinguished ophthalmology specialists, faculty groups and students from both the UK and abroad.

Parul is delighted to have been elected as master: “It’s a wonderful honour and privilege to do this and to follow in the footsteps of an august body of people who have been masters before me. I am both thrilled and a little bit terrified at the prospect,” she said. 

The mission of the congress, which dates back to its formation, is “for the cultivation of the spirit and good fellowship and of unconventionality, the right of our youngest member to rank with his oldest colleague” and “the frank, free and tolerant discussion of scientific matters.”

Parul believes that it is this mission which remains the congress’s great strength and very much to the forefront of its activities today. 'The congress brings together everyone from the most junior ophthalmologist to the most eminent consultants and professors; it has the most wonderful spirit. It always provides participants with great nuggets of information that you can take away with you whatever your sub-speciality. Being set in Oxford provides a unique backdrop and wonderful atmosphere for learning, sharing ideas and socialising, that are the essence of the congress.'

For Parul, who takes over the master’s role from Professor Andrew Dick of Bristol University, the appointment also means there is a sense of her career coming full circle for her: 'The first time I presented at the Oxford congress was at a master’s symposium before I was a consultant; now, alongside my colleagues on the council, I am going to be organising the master’s symposium.'

Editor's notes

Press contact: Julia Jones – 020 7566 2628

  • Moorfields is one of the world’s leading eye hospitals, providing expertise in clinical care, research and education. We have provided excellence in eye care for more than 200 years and we continue to be at the forefront of new breakthroughs and developments.  We are an integral part of one of the UK’s first academic health science centres, UCL Partners, and also one of the new academic health science networks. We were one of the first NHS organisations to achieve foundation trust status in 2004.
  • We treat the entire range of eye diseases, from common complaints to rare conditions which require treatments not available anywhere else in the UK. We dealt with more than 470,000 patient attendances in 2013/14 across our 21 locations in and around London, enabling us to provide expert care closer to patients’ homes.
  • Our specialist A&E dealt with almost 90,000 patient visits in the year 2013/14.
  • With our academic partners at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields is recognised as a leading centre of excellence in eye and vision research. Together, we form one of the largest ophthalmic research sites in the world, with the largest patient population in Europe  or the USA. We publish more scientific papers than any other eye  and vision research site, and have an extensive joint research portfolio.

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