At the start of training, residents receive a complimentary copy of the Wills Eye Manual, which is useful for the diagnosis and management of ocular diseases frequently seen on call. In addition, GME provides educational funds that are typically used towards the purchase of question banks, and ophthalmic texts, atlases or reviews. Through GME, residents and faculty have access to the GME Competency Education Program throughout the year. A medical library is also available to the residents, in addition to digital access to the American Academy of Ophthalmology Basic Clinical Sciences Course text.
Residents receive formal lectures in each of the ophthalmic sub-specialties by board-certified faculty in ophthalmology, neurology and pathology. These lectures typically precede daily sub-specialty clinics throughout the week. In addition, the third Thursday of each month is protected time for didactics and residents from all sites participate in person or remotely for this full-day activity. Invited guest speakers for didactic day are often local, private practice ophthalmologists who can add unique perspectives to the resident education. While rotating at the Orlando VA during PGY-3 residents also receive weekly fluorescein angiography and electrophysiology lectures.
Each week, residents also participate in-person or remotely in Chief Rounds and Grand Rounds. Chief Rounds are Tuesday afternoons and involve review sessions led by the senior resident or oral boards practice sessions and questions with the program director. Grand Rounds are Thursday afternoons and involve case presentations by residents or rotating medical students with feedback from peers and faculty in terms of diagnosis and management. Monthly journal clubs and quarterly morbidity and mortality rounds are also held during this time. Throughout the year, special workshops are also conducted during this time. Recent past workshops include a library resources review with our health sciences librarian, a well-being lecture with a local psychiatrist and a feedback workshop with our dean of faculty development. All residents participate in at least one research project and a quality improvement project each year. Information and outcomes from these quality improvement projects are integral to the improvement of the program and the department, and the safety of the patients that we care for.
In terms of board review preparation, in addition to oral boards practice sessions with the program director, the department provides an online review course to all residents leading up to the annual Ophthalmic Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP) exam. Additionally, senior residents receive financial support from GME to attend an online or in-person board review course.
The department also organizes two named lecture symposia annually, where residents have the opportunity to present to a large audience of other residents, medical students, faculty and alumni. For each symposium, we invite a prominent ophthalmologist to give the named lecture. The fall symposium focuses on glaucoma cases and is followed by a glaucoma wet lab in the university’s state of the art simulation lab. The spring symposium is combined with the annual alumni conference and is an opportunity for residents to provide updates about their ongoing research projects.
In terms of supplemental surgical education, residents have access to the EyeSi Surgical simulator while in DC and also in Orlando, FL. The department sponsors at least 2 large wet labs annually with strong participation by residents, medical students and faculty. Additionally, residents participate in smaller monthly wet labs ranging from intraocular lens loading to amniotic membrane placement and intravitreal injections. Thanks to a generous recent donation, a large renovation to our wetlab at HUH is planned for the near future to include updated state-of-the-art equipment to further enhance the resident’s surgical education.
The department encourages all residents to submit their research for presentation at local and national conferences and eventually for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Our medical students and residents typically have strong representation the following annual conferences: National Medical Association (NMA) Rabb-Venable, Women in Ophthalmology (WIO), Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and others. Senior residents receive financial support to attend the annual AAO conference, the largest ophthalmic conference each year. In addition, residents who are accepted to present their research at any of these local or national platforms receive financial support from GME that can cover the cost of poster printing, attendance and/or travel. Faculty are also encourage to stay up-to-date with research and attend these conferences, with the financial support of GME and the department.
All local residents also participate in AAO’s annual Congressional Advocacy Day and Mid-Year Forum in April. During this meeting residents are able to participate, often for the first time, in advocating for our profession and our patients with their government representatives and learn some practice relevant information for approaching graduation and beyond, such as contract negotiation.
The program director, program coordinator and the chair attend the annual Association for University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) where they access and share important information to improve the resident and medical student learning and training experience.
Through collaboration with other ophthalmology programs in the DC area, we are also able to offer residents several unique learning opportunities, including an annual month long ophthalmology introductory course for incoming PGY-2 residents, monthly fluorescein angiography and retina review lectures with the Retina Group of Washington, an annual retina symposium with the Retina Group of Washington, an annual ocular trauma course with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, an annual Low Vision Symposium with the Prevention of Blindness Society, an annual Ocular Inflammatory Summit with Stephen Foster, an annual Cherry Blossom Pathology course with George Washington Hospital, and an annual femto-laser assisted cataract surgery course with Wilmer Eye Institute.