Dr. Judy Box was born in a small town in rural Australia and grew up on a sheep farm. She attended boarding school in Melbourne where she also went on to medical school. She finished her medical training in the US, moving to Salt Lake City to complete an internship in medicine and surgery and then Athens, Ohio to work in emergency medicine.
At a residency program in Columbus, OH, she chose to specialize in psychiatry. “Half of what I was seeing in the ER had to do with psychiatric care, so I thought I’d look further into that specialty,” Dr. Box recalled. “And I stayed and practiced psychiatry for some 45 years.”
Regarding her vision, Judy shares, “My mother developed macular degeneration in her 80’s, so I knew to be on the lookout and saw an ophthalmologist regularly.” In the early 2000’s, she started having a lot of visual symptoms. When going out into bright sunshine, it would take a long time for her eyes to adjust. And when going into a closet, she couldn’t see anything.
When she started seeing wavy lines instead of the straight edge on a piece of equipment, her ophthalmologist concluded that she had early signs of age-related macular degeneration and sent her to a retina specialist. Finding the right fit was important to Judy so it took her a few tries before finding her current doctor at Ohio State University. “If I'm going to have a surgeon replace my knee, that's a one-off. It doesn't matter if he's rude. I never have to see him again. But this is going to be a lifelong relationship with a retina specialist.”
Dr. Box is passionate about giving back to her community and does a fair amount of volunteering. “I'm mentoring at a charter school with girls, mostly Somali immigrants, and I’m also active with a macular organization in the area.”
At Hadley, Judy is also mentoring through our Peer-to-Peer program, which is why she was nominated as a Hadley Hero this quarter. “I’m sort of the big sister. I listen and I get it. That matters. They really appreciate the support," Judy relates.
“I am on a mission. You notice most of the people who make the biggest impact are those who have a personal stake. My experience early on with macular degeneration has motivated me to get involved.”