May 2006
Volume 47, Issue 5
Free
Lecture  |   May 2006
Introducing Ronald and Barbara Eden Kobrin Klein, the 2005 Recipients of the Friedenwald Award
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2006, Vol.47, 1746. doi:10.1167/iovs.05-0535
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      Alfred Sommer; Introducing Ronald and Barbara Eden Kobrin Klein, the 2005 Recipients of the Friedenwald Award. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(5):1746. doi: 10.1167/iovs.05-0535.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Ron and Barbara Klein are an extraordinary pair, who well deserve a “coupled” Friedenwald Award. 
Ever since their meeting as freshmen at Brooklyn College, their stars have been collaboratively crossed. Married in 1965, they attended, in lockstep, New York University Medical School and then completed their internships at Bellevue Hospital. Both obtained Master of Public Health degrees at the University of North Carolina, but briefly, they broke ranks: Barbara pursued a preventive medicine residency at Chapel Hill and later, ophthalmology at University of Wisconsin, while Ron completed his ophthalmology training at Bascom Palmer. 
Since 1976, they have flourished in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin. 
All their studies—rigorous, innovative epidemiologic explorations into the heart of ophthalmic disease—have been ground-breaking, iconic investigations—“shoe-leather” epidemiology at its finest. 
The Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy (WESDR) provided the first solid data on the prevalence, incidence, and progression of diabetic ocular involvement. Based on a representative population, as distinct from the highly selective patients accumulated in clinic-based studies, it provided the first, truly valid estimates available on the population at large. This was no “armchair” exercise; it required scouring the Wisconsin countryside in their lumbering, fully equipped, examination van. Barbara and Ron now plan a 25-year follow-up of their original WESDR cohort—their sixth examination cycle of the same people they enrolled at the start of their highly productive careers. Few investigators in any field have conducted such a unique, long-term follow-up. 
Their second iconic study made equally good use of their Wisconsin environment. Beaver Dam contains a relatively homogenous, stable population, making intensive investigation and long-term follow-up of a raft of ophthalmic conditions both pertinent and feasible. This study, too, has yielded uniquely informative data on the rate of many ophthalmic conditions, their response to treatment, and their long-term consequences. 
Ron lists 538 peer-reviewed publications and another 60 “in press.” Barbara’s count is similar. They are constantly sought after for their advice and expertise, crossing medical disciplines and professions. 
It is hard to think of another couple who have had as prolific and prodigious an impact on any discipline, let alone ophthalmology; who have yielded as rich an array of inordinately important insights; or who have so painstakingly investigated the systemic and ophthalmic status of a representative population over a prolonged period. At the same time, they are wonderfully warm and caring physicians who delight in sharing their insights and helping younger colleagues launch their research and professional careers. 
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