HEI Director


Barrett G. Haik, MD, FACS
Director, Hamilton Eye Institute

Since the 1960s, several visionary leaders have sought to establish a world-class eye center in Memphis, but it took the unparalleled leadership of Dr. Barrett G. Haik to fulfill that vision 50 years in the making. Recruited to UTHSC by Dr. Ralph S. Hamilton in 1995, Dr. Haik was drawn to Memphis by the quality of ophthalmologists and vision scientists on full-time and clinical faculty at UT. He looked forward to the challenge of developing an eye institute and working with partners such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Baptist Memorial Healthcare, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Memphis VA Medical Center and the Regional Medical Center.

As the Department of Ophthalmology celebrates its centennial, Dr. Haik takes on a new leadership position. After serving as Hamilton Professor and chair for more than 17 years, he now assumes directorship of the Hamilton Eye Institute. This change enables him to devote more time to being a teacher, researcher and clinician, while still working hard to advance the institute’s mission of preventing blindness. He continues to work with St. Jude improving the lives of children with ophthalmic tumors, and he hopes through the new Ayers Foundation initiative to help develop strategies for delivering the finest eye care to disadvantaged children in our region and in select Latin American partner sites.

A native of New Orleans, Dr. Haik earned his medical degree at Louisiana State University. After residency at New York’s Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, he joined Cornell University and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 1986, he joined Tulane University in New Orleans as a professor of Ophthalmology. He was subsequently made program director and medical director of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, where he trained residents from Tulane, LSU and the Ochsner Foundation. In 1991, he was named the George M. Haik, Sr., MD - St. Giles Foundation Professor of Pediatric and Adult Ophthalmic Oncology, Tulane’s first endowed chair in Ophthalmology.

Dr. Haik is a member of numerous prestigious medical and scientific societies. He is past president of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, the American Eye Study Club, and the American Society of Ophthalmic Ultrasound; a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American College of Surgeons (for which he has also served three consecutive three-year terms on the Board of Regents), and the New York Academy of Medicine; and a member of the American Ophthalmological Society.

He has served as officer and committee chairman for many medical and ophthalmologic professional societies such as the Foundation Fighting Blindness, American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, the Southern Medical Association and the New Orleans Academy of Ophthalmology. In addition, he serves or has served on the Boards of Directors of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Eye Foundation of America and the Foundation for the Facially Disfigured. In 2011, he was appointed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to the Board of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency.

Dr. Haik has authored or co-authored more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and abstracts. He is internationally renowned as an expert in the diagnosis and management of ophthalmic tumors and has received numerous grants for his research. An accomplished and enlightening educator, Dr. Haik has given hundreds of presentations in both national and international forums and has received a Life Achievement Honor Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Since his recruitment to UTHSC, his remarkable leadership and the intellectual support and generosity of our wonderful faculty and donors have transformed the Department of Ophthalmology from a small office with four academic faculty members into the acclaimed Hamilton Eye Institute, a world-class eye center that is home to more than 40 academic faculty members and lauded among the top ten eye clinics in the United States.

Dr. Haik has two children, Barrett and Claire.