• Support the Foundation’s Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Campaign

    A partnership between the Academy and the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program aims to increase diversity in ophthalmology by helping qualified students who are underrepresented in medicine become competitive ophthalmology residency applicants. 

    Why is this important? Because public health evidence reveals that access to care improves when the physician community reflects the population at large. Although underrepresented minority groups comprise 30.7% of the U.S. population, they only make up 6% of practicing ophthalmologists. This program aims to increase concordance between ophthalmologists and patients.

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    About the Foundation’s Campaign



    The Academy Foundation’s goal is to raise $1 million over five years to support the mentoring program. We raised more than $200,000 in 2021, getting us off to a good start, but we need to keep that momentum up.

    Your contribution to the campaign will play an important part in building a physician membership that more accurately reflects the demographics of the patients we serve — protecting more patients’ sight and empowering more lives as we reach more patients in a broader spectrum of cultural groups and languages.

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    Minority Mentoring at AAO 2021



    In 2020, we welcomed 50 students — twice as many as 2019 — with the move to an online format. In 2021, the program’s fourth year, we doubled that, accepting 101 students. 91 of them came to AAO 2021 in New Orleans for Student Engagement Weekend, where they met with mentors, learned about our profession, tried some Skills Transfer labs and explored the expo.

    64 physicians assisted with programming during the annual meeting as speakers, moderators, lab assistants and exhibit hall guides. 180 mentors currently support all of our Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring students. They will continue to receive one-on-one mentorship, guidance in medical career planning, networking opportunities and access to a variety of educational resources including monthly virtual sessions.

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    Learn More About the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Program

    Visit the program’s main page for introductory information and to watch a video, “Changing the Face of Ophthalmology,” with 2018 Academy President Keith D. Carter, MD. 

    Read the 2020 Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Program Annual Report.

    Physicians: Watch a video with Chicago Medical School Dean for Diversity Mildred M. G. Olivier, MD; learn about mentor and speaker expectations; access an engagement toolkit and mentor resources; and complete an interest form to mentor the Class of 2022. 

    Schools: Find out who should apply, dates and deadlines, and about the Student Engagement Weekend in Chicago in 2022. 

    Students: Explore how to become a competitive ophthalmology residency applicant. Learn about opportunities, student responsibilities and the Student Engagement Weekend — and apply! The deadline for participation in the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Class of 2022 is June 15, 2022.