The Academy is privileged to honor Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD, with the 2016 Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award. This award recognizes Dr. Bernstein for his dedication to bring modern vitreoretinal services to the developing world in a sustainable manner.
The Utah Ophthalmology Society nominated Dr. Bernstein for the award. He has spent the past eight years training ophthalmologists in developing nations in order to expand the availability and quality of care where access to retinal care is extremely limited. In partnership with the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah and the Himalayan Cataract Project, Dr. Bernstein has hosted observational fellowships and provided training in current retinal techniques and diagnosis to ophthalmologists from Nepal, Ghana, Ethiopia and Bhutan. Dr. Bernstein traveled to the trainees’ hospitals, delivered much-needed equipment and supplies, helped them set up their equipment and provided hands-on training in their home setting. In central Ghana, Dr. Bernstein facilitated the acquisition of the first functioning retina laser at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. With Dr. Bernstein’s dedication and expertise, the Tilganga Eye Hospital in Kathmandu has become the leading center for retina surgery in the Himalayas.
In the United States, Dr. Bernstein established the first and only vitreoretinal training program in which U.S. fellows attend a two-week, fully-funded, international ophthalmology guest fellowship. This unique opportunity expands the perspectives of American ophthalmologists, stimulating interest and commitment to continue humanitarian work of their own. This increasing number of international fellowship alumni maintain their growing network, allowing Dr. Bernstein and his colleagues to better support the international ophthalmologists as they develop their own retina practices.
Dr. Bernstein is above all a teacher and a mentor, inspiring residents, retina fellows and international retinal specialists. He continually strives to elevate the skills and knowledge of his students. He leads by example in his caring devotion to every single patient.