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Dr. Terri L. Young

Year of Birth / Death

b. 1959

Medical School

Harvard Medical School



Career Path

Pediatric medicine: Ophthalmology
Education: Teaching
Dr. Terri L. Young


I love helping people. I love the fact that when I perform surgery, there is an almost instantaneous transformation in that person's life regarding their vision. I hope that my research in eye disorders will benefit humankind for generations to come.


Pediatric ophthalmologist Terri L. Young, M.D., has researched the molecular genetics of myopia to help find better treatments for eye disorders. She has been an associate professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Ophthalmic Genetics Research Center of the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania.

Born in Sacramento, California, in 1959, Terri Young graduated with highest honors in biochemistry and sociology from Bowdoin College, in Maine, in 1981. At Harvard Medical School she was named the Stanley J. Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Fellow and received her doctor of medicine degree in 1986. Dr. Young began postdoctoral training in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and later served as a resident in ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. From 1990 through 1992 she was a fellow in pediatric ophthalmology, strabismus, and adult motility disorders at the University of Pennsylvania-Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Scheie Eye Institute, and served two months as an extern in strabismus and adult motility disorders at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Young's first faculty appointment was as clinical instructor of opthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania. She went on to appointments as instructor of neurobiology and instructor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and assistant professorships of ophthalmology and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Young became a tenured professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at University of Minnesota in 1998. In 2001 she returned to Philadelphia as associate professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics in the departments of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics (Genetics) at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also director of Ophthalmic Genetics Research Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Young received the Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Development Award from 1992 through 1997 and became a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus in 1998. That same year she received the American Academy of Ophthalmology Honor Award and in 2002, she received the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Honor Award.

Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

Initially, societal expectations, but now I feel my biggest obstacle is my attitude and thoughts about my goals and limitations. Growing up as an African-American female, I was told "no" more times than I can count, because what I had hoped for my life seemed too ambitious. Now I realize it is really up to me to determine my destiny.

How do I make a difference?

As a pediatric ophthalmologist, I know what I do has a significant impact on the quality of life my patients enjoy. I also hope that my research efforts will contribute to how we treat blinding eye disorders!

Who was my mentor?

My mother was my most impressive mentor. She encouraged me to always try to do my best, and to follow my heart.

How has my career evolved over time?

I think I will always be a student of sorts, because there will always be more to learn. I realize now that I am mentoring others just as much as I am being mentored, which is an interesting turn of events.