News & Press
Summer Program for Medical Students
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.
Title of Project: Increasing underrepresented minorities in ophthalmology
Purpose: The number of practicing underrepresented minority (URM) ophthalmologists has not increased in over 15 years in the United States. The Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring (MOM) program is a joint effort of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American University Professors of Ophthalmology and many other organizations, including the National Medical Association (NMA), to encourage URM medical students to become ophthalmologists. In order to help refine the approach and thereby enhance the success of the MOM program, we sought to determine factors perceived by URM residents (i.e., those who successfully matched to ophthalmology) as being important to their success.
Methods: With the endorsement of the NMA Ophthalmology Section Executive Board, a phone survey was developed and used to assess the experiences of active URM residents and fellows in a pilot study. Participants were indentified and contacted through the Rabb-Venable Research program, Mid-Year Forum Mentoring Program, peer referrals, and social media including Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Using social media to contact participants was extremely helpful in identifying additional URM physicians.
Results: The pilot study survey was conducted in July 2018. There were 34 respondents among 38identified and contacted (response rate of 90%).
Demographics: All participants self-identified onthe San Francisco Match Application as Black/African-American or Latino, with more recent applicants specifically checking “URM” on their application. The average age of the participants was 30 years old (SD 2.5 years, Range 25-35 years old). The majority of participants were female (67.6%) and Black (91.2%). The postgraduate year (PGY) was on average 3.5 years (SD 1.7, Range PGY1-PGY7). The majority of the participants were residents (70.6%). Over a fourth of the participants (26.5%) had training at Howard University, a historically Black university.
Success Factors: In terms of their residency applications, 91 percent of participant matched with their first application to residency. The majority conducted research while in medical school (94%), mostly at their medical school (76.4%), and specifically in ophthalmology (79.4%). The average number of ophthalmology rotations was 2.78 (SD 0.85Range 1-5) with the majority doing away rotations (67.6%). Half of the participants (50%) received letters of recommendation from only their medical schools. The average USMLE step 1 and step 2 scores were 236.6 and 239.6, respectively (SD 13.5Range 199-258, SD 10.48 Range 215-254). Most participants (55.9%) had gaps years from college to medical school of an average of 1.55 years (SD 0.95Range 1-4). Almost half the participants (47.1%) had performed international work as medical students in India, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Various projects focused on health disparities in glaucoma and pediatric ophthalmology in countries where the disease burden is expanding.
Mentoring: The majority had an ophthalmologymentor during medical school (88.2%), even though only half (55.9%) had a minority faculty member in theophthalmology department. The majority of participants (85.3%) felt applicants should seek advice for residency applications from either inside and outside of their medical school.
Additional Specific Factors: Five participants had to seek advice only from outside their medical schooldue to lack of an ophthalmology department at their medical school. A composite list of mentors and away rotations was sent to the Rabb-Venable Mentors and MOM task force. The majority of participants (67.6%) were also informally involved in recruiting resident applicants to their perspective residencies by giving tours, speaking at interest groups or mentoring medical students on rotations. The majorityparticipated as medical students in the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the Rabb-Venable program, community free clinics or medical student ophthalmology interest groups. The majority of participants (76.5%) were active in the SNMA. The majority of participants (61.8%) also worked in underserved communities at medical school sponsored free clinics. As residents and fellows, the majority of participants also continue to participate in the Rabb-Venable program. This program was thefirst introduction for most medical student to the NMA.
Conclusions: While this is a pilot survey, severalimportant finding can help us enhance our approaches to recruiting URM students to ophthalmology. First, successful URM residents and fellows had USMLE scores, research experiences in ophthalmology and additional experiences that were academically competitive. Second, this nextgeneration of URM ophthalmologists not only interacted with mentors, but also was actively involved in research and community work both locally and abroad. Third, at least in this pilot study, large proportions of URM residents are or were trained at Howard University Hospital. The residency program continues to train many URM as a Historically Black Institution. As such, having additional residency program in the future (such as Morehouse School of Medicine) based on this approach may have an even greater impact on the increasing the number of URM ophthalmologist. Fourth, we believe that more ophthalmology training programs should emphasize a more holistic review of applicants and recognizedisparities (and move to address then) in the mentoring of URM medical students. Finally, we have to be more creative in how we recruit minority students, especially from social media, ophthalmology interest groups, and the SNMA. It is important to deliberately and diligently recruit minority talent in our profession to increase diversity in the workforce as an integral element of working towards the goal of eliminating health disparities.
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|
Fasika A Woreta MD: None; Ninita H Brown, MD, PHD:Thomas Eye Group: E; Janice C Law, MD: None; Jullia A Rosdahl, MD PHD: GORE: C; Locus Biosciences: E; Brad H Feldman, MD: None; Anita Gupta MD: None; Divya Srikumaran MD: Alcon Laboratories, Inc.: C; National Eye Institute: S;
A Letter from the Chair
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!