A cherished friend, colleague and icon in the field of Oculoplastic surgery, Henry I. Baylis, M.D., (1935 to 2017) who was Founding Chief of the UCLA Stein Eye Institute’s Division of Orbital and Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery sadly passed away last year. To honor his remarkable legacy in both academic medicine and ophthalmology, the Stein Eye Institute has established the Henry I. Baylis, M.D. Fund in Orbital and Ophthalmic Surgery with the goal to raise $2,000,000 to establish an administrative endowed chair to be held by the division chief of orbital and ophthalmic plastic surgery. In this exclusive interview with Aesthetic Insider™, Robert Goldberg, MD, the current Chief of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery at the Jules Stein Eye Institute/UCLA, discusses Dr. Baylis’ many contributions to JSEI/UCLA and his many contributions to the field of facial aesthetics and ocular plastic surgery, the legacy left behind after his passing and the intent to raise additional financial contributions to this fund. It is the hope of many that if the necessary funds are raised over time the possibility that the Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA may convert the fund to establish an administrative endowed chair to be called the Henry I. Baylis, M.D. Chair in Orbital and Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery, to be held by the chief of the Division of Orbital and Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery. To learn more about Dr. Robert Goldberg, visit www.uclahealth.org/robert-alan-goldberg. To learn more about the Henry Baylis, MD fund and to donate click here.
What is your role as Chief of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery at Jules Stein Eye Institute?
I’ve been here for thirty years on the faculty, and as the Chief of the division I have run a prosperous fellowship program which was a tradition started by Dr. Normand Shorr and Dr. Henry Baylis. We have a busy clinical service seeing many patients both locally and from an international referral in complex Oculofacial disease. I feel privileged to be in this role and to follow in the footsteps of such visionaries and leaders as Dr. Baylis and Dr. Shorr. Being part of the JSEI/UCLA campus daily is inspiring to me as it is an environment that is both challenging and rewarding and to be around so many bright minds in medicine is very rewarding to me as both a surgeon and a professor.
How did Dr. Baylis branch out to Jules Stein Eye Institute?
He began his practice in the San Joaquin Valley when the ophthalmology program at UCLA was also beginning. Dr. Baylis discussed the idea of beginning a program in oculoplastic surgery at UCLA with Bradley Straatsma, MD who was a Director at UCLA at the time. Dr. Straatsma gave him enormous encouragement and supported the UCLA CME courses, truly envisioning oculoplastic surgery as part of a robust academic ophthalmology program and he gave Dr. Baylis a faculty position. At the time, this was a radical idea, and the combination of Dr. Bradley Straatsma and Dr. Henry Baylis starting this program unequivocally instigated our fields, in addition to UCLA. Around the country, other programs began to learn and observe how plastic surgery could be part of an academic vital ophthalmology program which Drs. Straatsma and Baylis in actuality invented. For example, Dr. Baylis began doing facelifts in the 1980’s, which at that time was certainly unorthodox for an ophthalmologist to do a facelift and now is a co-requirement of ophthalmic plastic surgical training around the country. Additionally, orbital surgery and orbital decompressions were never performed by ophthalmologists and today it’s a core ophthalmic plastic surgery procedure. When Dr. Baylis began, oculoplastic surgery was a hobby. He truly was an ophthalmologist at the end of the day and would do cataract surgery and do one eyelid case, and it wasn’t even a serious sub-specialty, but he had this vision of a robust specialty which it has become worldwide.
Tell us about Dr. Henry Baylis’ contributions and what made him so special?
Dr. Baylis was the Founding Chief of the division and was never given financial compensation from UCLA. His involvement in the university was all volunteer and he remained highly involved from the beginning, truly running the program for many years. He was such a joy and lit up every room that he entered and was a phenomenal teacher, not only humorous, intelligent, and dedicated, but his heart was centered on helping young people. He supported our fellowship program, it was his passion, and he personally helped me enormously in my career even after I was the Division Chief, he would check in often and backed me in any way that he could. Initially, he had incredible push back both from ophthalmologists and other specialties. Ophthalmologists didn’t understand the vision of having robust plastic surgery to be part of our specialty, and other specialties were threatened by someone else in their area of expertise. However, when you look at the field today, ophthalmic plastic surgery has stepped up among the other core aesthetic medical specialties which is largely due to Dr. Baylis’ incredible contributions to the field.
What is the purpose of the Henry I. Baylis, M.D. Fund and what will the contributions go towards?
We want to truly honor Dr. Baylis because his role in our specialty was pivotal. He thoroughly envisioned, supported and developed the entire specialty of what is now referred to as Oculoplastic Surgery. Our goal is to honor that innovation and the imagination that he brought to our field, and to honor his name by starting a Henry Baylis Fund at UCLA. The fund has been established by the chancellor’s office and it’s an official campaign. Our goal is to raise two million dollars ($2,000,000. USD) which would make this fund a chair. It will be a Henry Baylis Chair in Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery at UCLA. Dr. Baylis would have particularly been proud to have his legacy in this fund and chair because teaching and working with the young fellows and developing young careers was ultimately one of the most important things to him. Dr. Baylis’ legacy is magnificently reflected in this academic fund which will go towards teaching, research, and patient care at UCLA in ophthalmic plastic surgery. I hope this chair will commemorate him and perpetuate because the tradition he started in the multi-disciplinary aesthetic surgery field is now ingrained into our DNA as part of the teaching program.
How can people contribute to that fund?
The fund is open and people can CLICK THIS LINK to learn more about the fund or support it. This fund is going to bring incredible joy to all the patients and trainees and faculty that are going to be touched by it and, hopefully, that will be able to carry on and extend his legacy and keep developing the vision that he brought to our specialty that ultimately made it come alive.
To learn more about Dr. Robert Goldberg, visit www.uclahealth.org/robert-alan-goldberg.
To learn more about the Henry Baylis, MD fund and to donate CLICK HERE.
To listen to Dr. Goldberg’s full interview at Aesthetic Insider™ Radio CLICK HERE!