• The Millennial Movement: How Gender Equality, Big Data, and Technology Will be Embraced by the Young Ophthalmologist

    How are young ophthalmologists going to take charge and shape their own futures in big data, artificial intelligence, teleophthalmology and closing the gender gap?

    This YO symposium highlights why I feel privileged and excited to be part of the millennial movement as an ophthalmologist. The essence of the talks are captured in the quotes below.

    • Doctors, not the Food and Drug Administration nor tech companies, are the guardians of our patient’s vision and we can’t stand down, now or ever.”
      Peter Karth, MD, encouraged the audience to ‘become involved in the revolution, learn how to critically evaluate progress in the area [Artificial Intelligence]. Analyze algorithms and their results as we always have: trials, papers, commentary. Take this technology to task.”
    • “Samples, variables, analysis.”
      Brian Stagg, MD, encouraged the audience to look at the methods and determine for yourself whether the results of a particular study are applicable to your patient, as big data does not always guarantee truth.
    • “Are ophthalmologists and trainees adequately prepared for making a diagnosis through teleophthalmology?” 
      R.V. Paul Chan, MD, brought up a great point and provided an example of a teleeducation system along with potential challenges in teleeducation and teleophthalmology.
    • “Lift others as you climb. Everyone has a role: regardless of race, gender, or age. Think of 5 diverse people you would like to lift up,” said Dr. Luxme Hariharan, MD. Purnima Patel, MD, pointed out that, “Attitudes have changed for entry-level positions but the gender gap still has not closed at the top.”
    • Millenials are the quintessential “empowered ophthalmologist. We advocate, we negotiate, and we educate,” said Andrea Tooley, MD,  and Marie Louise Roed Rasmussen. MD, shared her perspective that “millennials do not overshare, but rather they share things (notes, books, cases) [on social media] to save time for others.”

    As these quotes suggest, I felt empowered by our panelists; I feel increasingly passionate about better understanding the details of big data, AI and telemedicine, as these will indubitably affect how I take care of patients in the near future.

    I feel privileged to be a female attending in a supportive environment, but I acknowledge there is still a significant gender and diversity gap in leadership positions. We can all do a better job of lifting each other up as we climb and being aware of whether the leadership panels are truly representative of the people or patients they are meant to serve.

    Kudos to the YO Committee Chair Janice Law, MD, and Arvind Saini, MD, MBA, for putting together a panel on topics that are extremely relevant to us YOs and for finding speakers that remind us to play an active role in our future. 

    If you missed the session, I highly encourage you to check it out on the Virtual Meeting platform.