Teaching Ophthalmology in Arizona: “See one, do one, teach one”…

“See one, do one, teach one” has been the classic mantra in medicine and teaching new procedures and processes–we talk about having great mentors. I am now moving into that physician role of “mentor” telling students about rounding at the bedside with our peers and having discussion with the patient about “the differential” cause of their ailment in front of an attending. The patient chimed in prior unshared facts and we were given permission by the patient to listen with the stethoscope, palpate the mass, and percuss the side of the lung with decreased breath sounds. We learned to use an ophthalmoscope and look through the pupils and find the optic nerves. Now “rounds” are replaced with white coats staring at a digital computer sitting around the table. Doctors suffer burnout and patients feel disconnected from “healthcare” and “wellness”. The advent of new areas of medicine: genetics, stem cells, immunology, and imaging–to name only a few–limits the amount of medicine that can be taught in 4 years of medical school. What does this have to do with our non-profit?

Being present for patients is what my colleague, David Beyda, calls “covenant medicine”. It is why we opened our own private practice in our new home state of Arizona, to be a positive “light” to patients who want compassionate care and who want to be part of the fight against global blindness. We only have a short time in life to make a real difference.

Our project in the Dominican Republic through the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix relies on volunteer faculty and first year medical students. We combine a humanitarian setting with the opportunity to learn ophthalmology and deliver eye care. The students also deliver primary care and make house calls–just like in the “days of yore”.

UA student using slit lamp in Dominican Republic

Our goal in 2019 is twofold: continue the work of teaching and encouraging the next generation of primary care and ophthalmologists to prevent blindness and to establish a ophthalmology simulation center at the Global Retina Institute.

Vision is more than eyesight…

Fair Trade Store next to Global Retina Institute in Arizona