Leading the Way in Global Blindness Prevention
International Ophthalmology and Global Blindness Prevention have witnessed significant growth over the last two decades. Launch of the Vision 2020 initiative and the emergence of supranational organizations with the aim of eliminating avoidable blindness in developing countries were the main driving factors in generating awareness and interest, particularly among young ophthalmologists. While significant gains in the fight against avoidable blindness have been made, there still exists a massive shortage in training programs designed to groom the next generation of leaders in the fight against avoidable blindness.
Dr. Michael Feilmeier, medical director of the Division of Global Blindness Prevention and Community Outreach at TEI, understands this need. Dr. Feilmeier was the first fellow in the country to ever complete a Global Blindness Prevention Fellowship and as the program director of TEI’s two Global Blindness Fellowships he recognizes the need to not only make these fellowships available, but to ensure that those who incorporate global blindness prevention into their career have amassed the network and tools they will need to be successful.
Under the direction of Dr. Feilmeier, TEI currently offers two fellowship opportunities through the SF match process.
The fellowship in Global Blindness Prevention and Community Outreach is a unique-one year experience in which the applicant spends the majority of their time working at partner institutions in Nepal, Haiti, Ethiopia and Ghana where the focus is learning about different eye care delivery systems while simultaneously mastering the sutureless extracapsular cataract extraction technique. The balance of the year is spent working in a private practice setting under the direction of Bascom Palmer trained ophthalmologist, Dr. Katherine Johnson at Mountain View Medical Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fellow has the unique opportunity to experience the best of Alaskan wilderness and adventure while also learning the ins and outs of private practice in a state of the art facility equipped with onsite daycare. The final month of the fellowship is spent at TEI working on community outreach programs that deliver eye care to local Native Americans. This fellowship is only open to applicants who have completed an ACGME ophthalmology residency in the United States.
Advanced Fellowship in the Global Blindness Prevention is a one-of-a-kind two-year program funded by Orbis. Orbis, a nonprofit organization that works in developing countries to prevent and treat avoidable blindness, and TEI are pleased to work together to offer a two- year fellowship in Advanced Prevention of Avoidable Blindness.& Orbis’s work focuses on bringing quality eye care to communities by building the capacity of local partners in an effort to develop adequate infrastructure, trained staff and ultimately sustainable eye care services. Since their founding in 1982, their Flying Eye Hospital, a fully equipped mobile teaching hospital, has delivered training programs to local eye health professionals in 78 countries around the world.. The partnership between Orbis and TEI is an ideal collaboration using both partners expertise to carry out this fellowship. Through its new leadership and enthusiastic faculty, Nebraska University is offering the academic support needed for the fellowship program.
Co-designed the fellowship serves as the most comprehensive program available to any ophthalmologist in the world who has an interest in global blindness prevention. Its strong emphasis on public health and program development puts it into a category of its own as the fellow will split time working at the same international partner institutions, whereby amassing the same skills and relationships offered by the one-year program, while also taking on the critical role of developing a country specific program for the Flying Eye Hospital.
The fellow will start the two-year fellowship at TEI and will begin course work through the School of Public Health to achieve a certificate in Public Health that must be completed within the fellowship. Once enrolled, the fellow will depart to begin training working aboard the Flying Eye Hospital. There the fellow will be assigned a country in which Orbis plans to conduct a Flying Eye Hospital program. It will be the responsibility of the fellow to conduct a regional needs analysis, communicate with local eye care providers and ultimately plan the program that will be conducted by Orbis when the Flying Eye Hospital arrives and the program begins. The duration of this fellowship is primarily spent abroad and is open to any applicant who has completed an ECFMG ophthalmology residency, U.S. ACGME residency programs fall under this umbrella.
For more information on either or both fellowships please contact Jessica Feilmeier, TEI Development Director at 402-305-2852 or Jessica.Feilmeier@unmc.edu