Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Christopher C. Teng

Second Advisor

David Silverstone


The purpose of study was to examine the trends in both the incoming donations from American Academy of Ophthalmology members and outgoing political contributions to U.S. House of Representative candidates by OPHTHPAC. This retrospective, observational analysis included all of OPHTHPAC’s large donations and campaign contributions between 1989 and 2018. Data on U.S. congress members were combined with the financial records to tabulate the results of campaigns that received OPHTHPAC contribution. Ordinary linear regression was used to assess temporal trends in the amount and number of financial transactions as well as the election results and political characteristics of candidates. The donations were grouped geographically to calculate overall and per-ophthalmologist donation amounts for each state. Mixed effect regression analysis was performed to examine the effect of candidate characteristics on the amounts of individual campaign contributions. The per-cycle donation amount fluctuated over the years and has declined in the recent cycles after the 2007-2008 cycle (P < 0.01). Meanwhile, the number of donors giving more than $2000 and the proportion of the total OPHTHAPC donation amount they represent have risen (P < 0.032 for both). The several states that donated the most overall to OPHTHPAC (California, Texas, Florida) ranked in the bottom half in terms of per ophthalmologist donation amount. OPHTHPAC made contributions to the mean of 227.1 (±46.0) unique candidates per election cycle, of whom 70.5% were overall elected. The regression model shows that contribution to individual campaigns has decreased over time. Republican candidates receive less overall, but experienced a slower decrease over time, when compared to Democrat candidates. Candidate seniority and campaigns for open seats when compared to incumbent campaigns were associated with increased contribution. In conclusion, the total per-cycle donation amount depends on increased member participation across the spectrum rather than attraction of individual big donors. Donations may be increased by encouraging higher participation within most populous states. The majority of candidates supported by OPHTHPAC are successful in their campaign. Candidate characteristics, namely party affiliation, were significant factors in the amount of support received from OPHTHPAC.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 10/12/2023