Shorye Durrett, MD
Shorye Durrett, MD

A passion for ophthalmology began at a young age for the University of Louisville’s assistant dean for medical student affairs, Shorye Durrett.

When she was in the eighth grade, her stepfather helped her make an eye model using clay and a yarn spool. She entered the project in a science fair at a local university. Judges of the fair asked her to explain how the eye works internally, sparking interest in the study of the eye.

Durrett has been a part of the UofL family since enrolling in the School of Medicine’s Pre-matriculation Program in 1993. In 1997, she became the second African American graduate from the UofL School of Medicine to match in ophthalmology and the first African American woman resident in UofL’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

Durrett is a part of a small community in the United States, where less than 5% of the country’s ophthalmologists identify as African American.

“I am humbly grateful to not only be an ophthalmologist, but also a retina specialist,” Durrett said.

She started the non-profit Vision Ambassadors (VisAmb) to provide “educational assistance to help students obtain terminal graduate degrees with the intent of community wealth building and service.”

Durrett’s aim is to continue to build upon the legacies of many others – for others. She’s helping establish the Mary S. Joshua Endowment Fund, Portnoy-Berberich-Payne ‘Vision Heirs’ Endowment Fund and Dr. Delores Gordon Alleyne Lecture Series to honor their contributions in medical progress for all.