News & Press
Meet and Greet
Glaucoma Awareness Month with Joy Keys
**Dr. Constance Okeke received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale and trained in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins. She completed her glaucoma fellowship training as a Heed Research Fellow at the prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of University of Miami. She became a clinician scientist under a National Institute of Health K12 grant at the Scheie Eye Institute of University of Pennsylvania, where she also earned a Master of Science degree in clinical epidemiology. She has practiced ophthalmology with a specialty in glaucoma and cataract surgery since 2001.
Dr. Okeke single-handedly pioneered micro-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) at Virginia Eye Consultants in the southern Virginia Hampton Roads region. In 2009, she was the first in the area to perform Trabectome surgery and was the first in the country to combine this advanced technology in glaucoma with the femtosecond laser, allowing the surgery to be performed without a blade.
**Opthamologist Dr. Leslie Jones-Dr. Jones is an associate professor in the College of Medicine and serves as the residency program director and director of Glaucoma Services in the department. Dr. Jones completed her medical degree in 1996 and ophthalmology residency in 2000 at Howard University and Howard University Hospital, followed by a fellowship in glaucoma at Wills Eye Hospital, the country’s oldest eye hospital located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Jones is the recipient of the American Glaucoma Society Clinician Scientist Award 2005. Her research focuses on the genetic epidemiology of glaucoma, the evaluation of current and innovative glaucoma medical and surgical therapies, and use of on-line simulation as an adjunct to traditional ophthalmic clinical skills training.
Congratulations Dr Fasika Woreta
Dr Fasika Woreta was recognized at AAO 2021 in New Orleans for her selection to the Academy’s 23rd Leadership Development Program (LDP) class. Dr. Woreta, nominated by The NMA Ophthalmology Section, joins 19 other ophthalmologists in the LDP XXIII, class of 2022 chosen via a competitive selection process. In addition to US participants nominated by state, subspecialty and specialized interest societies, the LDP XXIII class also includes one international participant from Jordan who is jointly representing the Jordanian Ophthalmological Society and the Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology. After a series of virtual sessions earlier this year, this LDP class came together for an Orientation Session in New Orleans where they were personally introduced to their classmates and heard from Academy leaders including outgoing AAO CEO David W. Parke II, MD and 2021 President Tamara Fountain, MD.
In January 2022, Dr. Woreta will take part in a 2 ½ day interactive session in San Francisco where she will hear from AAO physician leadership, including 2022 Academy President Robert Wiggins, MD, on a wide variety of leadership topics. During this session she will also visit the AAO headquarters and participate in skills training exercises. Next Dr. Woreta will attend the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum 2022 in April in Washington D.C. where she will have scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill with Senators, Representatives and healthcare staff to discuss issues important to the medical profession. During an advocacy session dedicated to LDP XXIII participants, Dr. Woreta will also hear from a member of the US Congress about building effective relationships with legislators and how best to advocate on behalf of patients. The final LDP session for the class of 2022 will take place in conjunction with AAO 2022 in Chicago.
Participants in AAO LDP XXIII, Class of 2022
NMA @ AAO in New Orleans for NMA Symposium on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Perspectives from Ophthalmology Leadership
NMA Ophthalmology Faculty & Trainee Diversity Scorecard
The Faculty and Trainee Diversity Scorecard was created by Daniel Laroche, MD and Fasika Woreta, MD, MPH. The scorecard is a means to collect data reflecting representation or lack of minority groups in academic ophthalmology medicine. The goal is to increase representation, inclusion and opportunities.
Vanessa Ngakeng Scholarship Award Winner Keale Cade
Applying to Ophthalmology
Aerie present Dr Daniel Laroche
Congratulations Dr Mildred Olivier
2020 YO Award Winner
Congratulations Dr Renee Bovelle, MD
2020 Catalyst for Change Award from the Ophthalmic World Leaders
Sowing Seeds: Mentoring SNMA
SNMA Facebook Live
Conducting A Job Search
NMA at Women in Ophthalmology
Women in Ophthalmology Virtual Conference featured multiple NMA section members including Carla Bourne and Usi Abugo leading the Surgical Mini Symposium.
Health Disparities During COVID
Dr Dan Laroche mentoring Rabb Venable Student Titilola Ogunsola
Congratulations to Dr Joe Coney
Walking by Faith to Help Restore Sight: Dr. Joseph M. Coney
by Montrie Rucker Adams, APR
For those who may experience vision difficulties, Retina Surgeon Dr. Joseph M. Coney is one of the premier ophthalmologists in the country. Since 2015, Dr. Coney was named a Top Doctor by Castle Connelly, an organization whose “mission is to help people find the best healthcare and connect patients with the best-in-class healthcare providers.” Based in Northeast Ohio, Dr. Coney is a partner with Retina Associates of Cleveland, Inc. where he provides comprehensive ophthalmic medical and surgical care for Northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania, specializing in diabetic retinopathy, macular diseases, complex retina detachments and ocular trauma.
Congratulations Dr Dan Laroche
New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) held a socially distant dedication ceremony on August 13 for Dr. David Kearny McDonogh, a pioneering Black physician who fought racial injustice in the 19th century to become the country’s first Black ophthalmology and otolaryngology specialist.
Rabb Venable Research Competition
Program book for 2020 Virtual Competition
Lighting a Pathway: The Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Program
Lighting a Pathway: The Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Program
Mildred M.G. Olivier, MD - North Chicago, Illinois
Susan Forster, MD - New Haven, Connecticut
Keith D. Carter, MD - Iowa City, Iowa
Oscar A. Cruz, MD - St. Louis, Missouri
Paul P. Lee, MD, JD - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Message from the Chair
Consider referring friends or colleagues to this collection of anti-racism resources to start a dialogue: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/mobilebasic
Episode 240: Race in America and Improving Diversity in Ophthalmology
You can now claim CME credits via the AAO website.
Glaucoma, Addressing Surgical Health Disparities with Excellence
National Medical Association (NMA) Ophthalmology Webinar: “Glaucoma, Addressing Surgical Health Disparities with Excellence”
“Cataract Surgery, Combination Microinvasive Glaucoma Surgery: 23 gauge Cystotome/Sinsky Goniotomy and Suprachoroidal Microtube shunt”
Daniel Laroche MD, President, Advanced Eyecare of New York, Clinical Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, New York, USA
“Pearls on GATT and Trabeculectomy”
Oluwatosin U.Smith MD, Partner Clinician and Surgeon Glaucoma Associates of Texas, Dallas , Texas, USA Associate Professor of Ophthalmology University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
“Pearls on Glaucoma Tube Shunts”
Leon Herndon Jr. MD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Durham, North Carolina, USA Chief of Glaucoma Division, Duke Eye Center
Ninita Brown MD, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Glaucoma Specialist, National Medical Association
Benjeil Z. Edghill MD, Glaucoma and Anterior Segment Specialist, Advantage Care Physicians, Staten Island, NY, USA, Ophthalmology Section Chair of the National Medical Association
Abeba Giorgis MD, Glaucoma Specialist, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
Dan Kiage MD, Glaucoma Specialist, Kisii Eye Hospital, Kisii, Kenya.
Desiree Murray MD, Glaucoma Specialist, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago
Adun Ogunro MD, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Glaucoma Specialist, Eye Foundation Hospital Group, Lagos, Nigeria
Perspectives on Diversity
My Experience Participating in the Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Program
By Ms. Maria Gomez-Caraballo; Duke Medical Student
I am a first generation Afro-Latina medical student, and it was at Duke School of Medicine that I first discovered my passion for ophthalmology. Through Duke Eye Center, I was able to attend the Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Research program hosted by the National Medical Association (NMA) this past summer in Hawaii. This conference was one of the most inspiring events that I have experienced as a Duke medical student.
The NMA was founded in 1895 as the nation’s first medical association representing African American health professionals. To this day, the NMA continues to amplify the voices of African American doctors and works to advance medicine in minority communities through improvements in education, quality of care, and medical disparity reduction. The Rabb-Venable Award for Outstanding Research, begun in 2000, is named after Dr. Maurice F. Rabb, Jr. and Dr. Howard Phillip Venable, two leading African American ophthalmologist who mentored their students in the pursuit of research and academic excellence. Today, the program is led by Dr. Mildred Olivier and Dr. Eydie Miller-Ellis, who are dedicated to furthering the mission of the program. Every year, they select medical students, residents, and fellows to present original research and attend an immersive experience for awardees.
At the conference, Dr. Olivier, Dr. Miller-Ellis, and the some of the diverse Rabb-Venable shared advice on being active participants in our medical school experience and overcoming obstacles during clinical years. The program included lectures and workshops on practical matters that are not often covered in medicine’s core curriculum, such as discussions of NEI available funding, what goes into grant selection, and successful grant writing. My personal favorite workshop was the intensive public speaking training, which gave us time to practice poster and podium presentations and interviewing skills. The program culminated with attendees’ poster and podium sessions and award presentations.
Both the NMA and the Rabb-Venable Excellence Research program are platforms where minority students and physicians can seek out professional development, mentorship, and empowerment. I hope this is only the beginning of a long career as Rabb-Venable alumni. It was amazing to be in rooms full of physicians who shared similar backgrounds with the hopeful medical students in attendance, many of us the first in our families to follow this path. I strongly encourage all medical students interested in ophthalmology, residents, and fellows who identify as Black or African American, Latinx, or Native American to submit their abstracts for consideration to attend the August 2020 conference in Atlanta (www.rabbvenable.org). This year will the conference’s 20th anniversary, and we encourage all past participants to return to be a part of the celebration!
Congratulations to Dr. Ninita Brown for recognition from the AAO Leadership Development Program
On Monday, October 14th during the Society Presidents’ Recognition and Awards Session held in conjunction with AAO 2017 in San Francisco, Dr. Brown was recognized for completing her participation in the Academy’s Leadership Development Program XXI, Class of 2019. Dr. Brown was among a select group of participants chosen for the LDP XXI, Class of 2019, from among a large group that was nominated by state, subspecialty and specialized interest societies. The class also included an international participant from Nigeria who represented the African Ophthalmology Council.
Congratulations to Dr. Chasidy Singleton
Dr. Singleton has represented the NMA Ophthalmology section on the AAO Council meeting for the past 6 years. She helped to increase our visibility and strengthened our reputation within the Ophthalmic community. The October 13th 2019 meeting was her final meeting in this position, but we would like to thank her for all her hard work and service.
AAO/NMA Wellness Symposium
Monday October 14
Physician Wellness: No More Feeling the Burn
Physician wellness is being recognized as an increasingly important topic, as burnout is associated with depression, decreased productivity and an increase in medical errors in all fields of medicine, including ophthalmology. We should consider defining wellness not only as the absence of burnout but in a more holistic manner, addressing the mental, social and physical well-being of the physician. In this session, we will address the main drivers of both high professional fulfillment and burnout and focus on three major domains: a culture of wellness, personal resilience and efficiency of practice. This session will provide tips to reduce stress both at home and in the workplace and will address issues such as personal resiliency, time management and practicing mindfulness. Throughout the session, we will focus on groups, such as medical students, physicians-in-training, women and under-represented minorities , who may be at higher risk for physician burnout.
Fasika A Woreta MD
Ninita H Brown, MD, PHD
Fasika A Woreta MD
|8:38||Building Personal Resiliency
Janice C Law, MD
|8:48||Mindfulness and Movement for Ophthalmologists
Jullia A Rosdahl, MD PHD
|8:58||Physician Wellness and Its Impact on Patient Safety
Brad H Feldman, MD
|9:08||Cultivating and Evaluating Resident Wellness
Anita Gupta MD
|9:18||Parental Leave Policies for Ophthalmology Residents: Leading by Example
Divya Srikumaran MD
|9:28||Topic #1: Work-Life Balance and Effective Time Management Strategies for the Busy Ophthalmologist|
|9:38||Topic #2: Strategies to Avoid Burnout in Groups at High Risk: Physicians-In-Training, Residents, Women|
|9:48||Topic #3: How to Practice Mindfulness During Your Daily Practice|
Ninita H Brown, MD, PHD
|10:00||End of Session|
Congratulations to Dr. Keith Carter, President of AAO 2018
Congratulations to Dr. Adrienne Scott for recognition from the AAO Leadership Development Program
AAO Leadership Development Program (LDP) XIX, Class of 2017 graduates
Dr. Adrienne Scott Graduates from AAO Leadership Development Program
On Monday, November 13th during the Society Presidents’ Recognition and Awards Session held in conjunction with AAO 2017 in New Orleans, Dr. Scott was recognized for completing her participation in the Academy’s Leadership Development Program XIXI, Class of 2017. Dr. Scott was among a select group of nineteen participants chosen for the LDP XIX, Class of 2017, from among a large group that was nominated by state, subspecialty and specialized interest societies. The class also included an international participant from Turkey who represented the International Council of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Scott was recognized for her outstanding project. She developed a questionnaire for medical students at Johns Hopkins Medical school, evaluating factors that may influence them pursuing an ophthalmology career. Students of different races/ethnicities and genders shared the same top 3 reasons for not choosing ophthalmology as a career: “insufficient interest,” “lack of exposure,” and “too specialized”. Clinical experiences in a specialty can increase interest and motivate some students toward pursuing it as a career. Therefore, strategies to remedy lack of interest in ophthalmology should focus on providing experiences to expose and immerse students in the field early in their medical education. These data should inform recruitment strategies so that Ophthalmology can best respond to the needs of the patients it serves.
In January 2017, Dr. Scott took part in a 2 ½ day interactive session in San Francisco covering a wide variety of leadership and association management topics. The meeting also included a visit to AAO headquarters to hear from the 2017 Academy President Cynthia Ann Bradford, MD, CEO David Parke II, MD and Academy Vice Presidents on key priorities for the Academy. Next was a trip in April 2017 to attend the Mid-Year Forum 2017 in Washington D.C. where Dr. Scott visited members of Congress and their staff to discuss issues important to the medical profession as part of Congressional Advocacy Day. During a dedicated LDP session on Capitol Hill, Dr. Scott and her LDP colleagues also heard from 2017 US Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) about building effective relationships with legislators and how best to advocate on behalf of patients.
During the final LDP XIX session in New Orleans, Dr. Scott heard from leadership of the AAO and the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology regarding global collaborative efforts and key priority issues for organized ophthalmology and was encouraged to put her leadership skills to good use.
Look for great things from Dr. Scott in the future!
Dr. Scott pictured with LDP classmates and Linda Tsai, MD – AAO Director, Leadership Development Program
Congratulations to Dr. Leslie Jones, Newly appointed Chair at Howard University
Philadelphia Tribune Article August 4, 2017
The Black ophthalmologists came together as the National Medical Association held its 115th Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly in Philadelphia from July 29 through Aug. 2. They traveled from across the country, including the U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands, to attend the event.
I had the pleasure of attending the “White Winter Gala in July,” which the Black physicians group held at the Pyramid Club, as a guest of Ruth Scarborough Ramsey, the Ophthalmology Section’s administrator.
The event was a wonderful time for everyone to enjoy themselves in a relaxed atmosphere.
Dr. Chasidy D. Singleton, chairman of the Ophthalmology Section, had this to say about this subgroup: “The mission of the NMA Ophthalmology Section is to end debilitating eye disease and blindness, especially in underserved communities, in order to eliminate inequalities in eye care.
“In like-mindedness, I desire to serve my local community and abroad via advocacy for my profession, skillful and compassionate care of my patients, training and mentoring our resident physicians and students, and remaining a consistent voice in the fight to gain equal and high-quality eye care for all.”
During dinner, master harmonica player Deacon Leslie Pitts awed everyone with an amazing rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Pitts, who began playing the harmonica at age 6 and is now in his youthful 80s, received a standing ovation.
Singleton, who delighted guests with a cello selection, began attending the NMA meeting as a Rabb-Venable scientific competitor in 2002 in Philadelphia during her ophthalmology residency.
“Now, 15 years later, I am honored and thrilled to be the chair of the entire section,” he said.
Other outstanding NMA Opthamology Section officers are: Dr. Atif B. D. Collins, Dr. Shelby R. Wilkes, Dr. Scarlette M. Wilson and Ramsey.
The view of the city landscape and beyond from the 52nd floor was phenomenal and so was the spirit of the upbeat gathering. During a cocktail reception, guests enjoyed a meet and greet with local heroes, including members of Tuskegee Airmen-Philadelphia Chapter, who autographed beautiful color photos.
The heroes who received “The Military History Award” were Dr. Eugene Richardson, Pierce “Ted” T. Ramsey, Nathan O. Thomas, Vincent Mallory and Alma Bailey.
Dr. Keith Carter, president of Professors of Opthamology and president of the American Academy of Opthamology, was the recipient of the 2017 “Leadership Award.” Past Opthamology Section chairs were also acknowledged for their outstanding contributions.
State Rep. Christopher M. Rabb, (D-200), who received the “Outstanding Achievement Award,” is the son of the late Dr. Maurice F. Rabb Jr., an accomplished and dedicated ophthalmologist who would have celebrated his 85th birthday on Aug. 7.
We all have the capacity to build on other people’s legacies based on our unique gifts, talents, skills and opportunities,” said Rabb. “I grew up in the post-civil rights era, benefiting from all the social justice South. And so, what he experienced and endured is very different than what I have experienced and endured as a Black man. And the opportunities I have today are because of the sacrifices made by previous generations.”
“My father operated quietly by being an example. He was the product of the politics of respectability, which is not much in vogue these days, but was a part of survival mode for lots of many Black folks of his era seeking to be in arenas dominated by white people where we were excluded by law or practice,” Rabb said in recalling his father, who died in 2005.
“And so, he let his actions speak for him and he did things behind the scenes so that future generations could be more overt, more direct and more vocal. My form of service is as an elected official and public servant whereas my father’s was as a healer, a teacher and a researcher, mentoring people who were marginalized,” said the lawmaker, whose legislative district comprises Philadelphia.
“They were not only Black people, but other people of color including Arabs, people of the Muslim faith, and women who were systematically excluded from participating in the field of medicine largely before the 60s. That inspired me to serve and to mentor and to speak truth to power because his example was so bright and his reach so far,” Rabb said.
Some of those familiar Philadelphia faces seen “Out & About” were Mae Hadfield, Louise Watkins, Dr. Charles and Ruth Bridges, Irma Brooks and her daughter-in-law Lisa Brooks from California, Marjorie Chew and Donna Dubose Miller.
Other highlights of the elegant but relaxing affair included cocktail reception entertainment by keyboardist Les Brown and dancing to great sounds by DJ Julius Brown.
It was a memorable event that filled me with tremendous pride. Congratulations and best wishes to the National Medical Association’s Ophthalmology Section.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!