Camila Ventura, MD, PhD, is the 2018 recipient of the Academy's Artemis Award. She was nominated by the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) for her dedication serving the needs of the underserved, both in her local community and throughout the world. Dr. Ventura is committed to eradicating healthcare disparities and fighting congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS). She is a 2014-2015 graduate of PAAO’s Curso de Liderazgo.
Camila Ventura, MD, PhD
Dr. Ventura attended medical school at the Severino Sombra University, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a medical student, she did a six-month rotation in ophthalmology at Columbia University in New York under the supervision of Michael Chiang, MD. At Columbia, she was introduced to the field of pediatric retina.
After medical school, she trained in ophthalmology at the Altino Ventura Foundation (FAV), a non-profit organization founded by her grandfather, Altino Ventura, MD and his partner, Inácio Cavalcanti, MD, along with their respective sons and wives, Drs. Marcelo and Liana Ventura and Drs. Ronald and Elani Cavalcanti. The FAV, located in Recife Brazil, was founded in 1986 to provide vision services to low-income families in the state of Pernambuco.
Dr. Ventura specialized in Medical Retina, Uveitis and Ocular Oncology at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and Surgical Retina at the FAV.
Dr. Ventura first reported the ocular findings in babies affected by the Zika virus during pregnancy as part of the 2015 Zika virus outbreak in Brazil. Her studies specifically address the structural damage caused to the eye by the Zika Virus, the pathophysiology behind these manifestations, the short and long-term effects of these findings on vision and babies response to early intervention treatment.
Dr. Ventura returned to the U.S. for a research fellowship in pediatric retina at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami where she was under the supervision of Audina Berrocal, MD. She planned for ROP research with Dr. Berrocal. However, after four months into her fellowship, she was informed that ZIKV had reached Miami. Fortunately, Dr. Ventura had already examined and treated babies with CZS in Brazil and together with Dr. Berrocal, the two began their work with ZIKV at Bascom Palmer and internationally by founding the Pediatric Research and Intervention Subspecialty Mission Group (PRISM group).
Since then, Dr. Ventura’s research on ZIKV has been featured in 20 peer-reviewed publications and several book chapters. She has spoken at worldwide conferences including the CDC, NIH and WHO. Currently, she is collaborating with the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on prospective studies addressing the ophthalmological aspects and neurodevelopmental consequences of the CZS, respectively.
In January 2018, she finished her PhD program at Unifesp and joined the post-doc program. Dr. Ventura is currently the head of the Department of Clinical Research at the FAV.