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  • 5 Takeaways From the Global Ophthalmology Summit YO Program

    The 2022 Global Ophthalmology Summit took place in Park City, Utah on Aug. 12 and 13. 

    Organized by the Aravind Eye Hospital; Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Science University; Emory Eye Center, Emory University; Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Illinois Chicago; Moran Eye Center, University of Utah, and the Academy, the inaugural summit on global ophthalmology brought together many leaders in global ophthalmology to learn from one another, network, and explore collaborations to enhance global eye care. 

    Over 200 participants attended, including ophthalmologists, public health specialists, technicians, and industry representatives involved in global eye care. The summit also saw the first global ophthalmology young ophthalmologist (YO) program, with over 70 medical students and ophthalmology trainees attending. Here are five takeaways from the summit’s YO program:

    1. Network with fellow YOs.

    Global Ophthalmology Summit
    YO residents and fellows enjoying the Global Ophthalmology Summit.

    As a YO, the summit was a great opportunity to meet like-minded residents, fellows, and young attendings who have similar goals of being involved with global outreach throughout their careers. Moran Eye Center resident Mubarik Mohamed, MD, noted, “I have no doubt some of the YOs here will be future leaders in global ophthalmology.”

    2. Meet future mentors.

    I was able to ask questions and meet future mentors such as Jacquelyn O’Banion, MD, director of global ophthalmology at the Emory Eye Center; Ashiyani Nariani, MD, a cornea specialist, refractive surgeon and assistant professor at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India; Yasmin S. Bradfield, MD, a faculty member and Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. 

    The meeting helped create a working group focused on a standardized track for global ophthalmology education for residents nationwide, which is very exciting. The attendings participated in the YO discussions and offered their advice and support.

    3. Learn how to get involved at different career stages.

    Many of the YOs who attended were not just trainees. Some were practicing ophthalmologists trying to explore a global path to practice.

    “I graduated from residency several years ago and I’m here at this meeting to learn what my niche is in global ophthalmology,” said Christopher Ricks, MD, from Utah. 

    The session, “Getting Involved at Different Career Stages,” emphasized several key principles. Speakers offered their tips, including:

    • Start where you are at with local domestic outreach.
    • Find someone who is doing something successfully and join them to learn key principles before trying to invent something on your own.
    • Adapt your niche as your interests adapt. Charles Cole, MD, described his interest during his career shifted from performing surgeries and camps to government policy and working with hospital administration.

    4. Learn from current fellows about their experiences and journey into global ophthalmology.

    One session offered the stories and different pathways fellows have taken within their global fellowships. This included a military training background like Timothy Soeken, MD, from the University of Michigan, contrasting with Nathaniel J. Gebhard, MD, who was an attending for several years and then took a yearlong sabbatical to complete a global ophthalmology fellowship from the Moran Eye Center. 

    “This fellowship has been a sacrifice for my family, but the relationships and training I’ve been able to experience has made it well worth the cost,” Dr. Gebhard said.

    5. Enjoy the scenery of Park City, Utah!

    The summit was held in the picturesque Wasatch Mountain range at the Sheridan Resort with a great backdrop of Park City and Deer Valley resorts.

    About the author: Michael S. Murri, MD, graduated from the University of Utah as a global outreach scholar and is a cornea, external disease and refractive surgery fellow at the University of Colorado. His interest in global work began when he lived in Ecuador for four years growing up, and he has participated in domestic refugee, urban, and Native American outreach, as well as global outreach in South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. He will join the Academy’s YO International subcommittee starting in Jan. 2023.