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Daniel Finkelstein

DANIEL FINKELSTEIN, MD, MA Theology, the inaugural Andreas C. Dracopoulos Professor, has had a long and dedicated career at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. He began as a resident under Alfred Edward Maumenee, MD, in 1970. He remained at Wilmer to do retinal angiogenesis research with Arnall Patz, MD; Henry Brem, MD; Steven Brem, MD; and Judah Folkman, MD, which he followed with a one-year tenure as chief resident. In 1975, he joined the Wilmer faculty, becoming a full professor in 1993.

Prior to his time at the Wilmer Eye Institute, Dr. Finkelstein attended public schools in suburban Philadelphia, received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

During medical school, he did a one-year fellowship at the Free University of Berlin in neurophysiology, followed by an internship and two years in the military at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), focusing on the neurophysiology of vision.

After his residency and research training with Dr. Patz, Dr. Finkelstein joined the Retinal Vascular Center faculty at Wilmer, specializing in retinal degeneration and retinal vascular disease, vein occlusion and diabetes. He initiated as principal investigator the first nationwide, multicenter, grant-supported vein occlusion study for the NIH. The study showed the benefit of laser photocoagulation for perfused macular edema and provided a rationale for subsequent similar research in diabetes.

At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Finkelstein joined the Clinical Hospital Ethics Committee as well as initiated and edited The Hopkins Ethics Newsletter, which was dedicated to the Johns Hopkins Hospital community. He served as Co-Chairperson of the Clinical Hospital Ethics Committee in 1997 and 1998 and then joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

In 1998, after studying ethics at Georgetown University, he embarked on a Catholic pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, with the Order of Malta, which yearly takes patients to this site. After his journey, he converted to Roman Catholicism, eventually earning a degree in theology at the St. Mary’s Seminary and University in suburban Baltimore. He was inspired as well to join the Order of Malta as a Knight and continue these religious journeys to Lourdes with patients for 12 years. In addition, Dr. Finkelstein was a charter member of the Macula Society, serving as president from 2004 to 2006. He also volunteered in Haiti just after the earthquake in 2010 by providing medical care to those affected by the destruction.

Dr. Finkelstein’s current clinical activity involves caring for uninsured patients with diabetic retinopathy in the Wilmer clinic and in a convent clinic in Washington, DC, run by a Catholic nun who is a board-certified family physician and general surgeon.