Update From the Chair

Thomas Hejkal, M.D. 
Thomas Hejkal, M.D.
Another big milestone for the Truhlsen Eye Institute – the project was sent out for bids July 5.  Although slightly behind the original schedule, the plans remain for construction to be completed in December 2012.  Plans for phase II are in process.  A team from UNMC, UNMC Physicians and the Nebraska Medical Center visited the Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City last month to learn more about how they formed a successful partnership between the hospital and the Moran Eye Center for a very efficient outpatient eye surgery center.  We learned much from their model and will be working on plans for a state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center as part of the Eye Institute.

The annual Gifford-Truhlsen Conference was held June 17 at the Truhlsen Event Center at UNMC.  Dr. Mark Humayun, a leader in the development of artificial retinas and other innovations, was our Gifford lecturer and Dr. Susan Day, a renowned pediatric ophthalmologist and former president of the AAO, was our Truhlsen lecturer this year. We have already lined up Dr. Randy Olson, Chair at the Moran Eye Center, as our Truhlsen lecturer for 2012. Dr. J. Ambati, a renowned vitreo-retinal physician-scientist and recent recipient of the Carl Camras Translational Research Award, will be our Gifford lecturer for 2012.

The International Division of Ophthalmology is taking off like a rocket thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of Mike and Jessica Feilmeier. We already have visiting physicians from China and Africa tentatively scheduled to come to UNMC to observe. In addition, Dr. Feilmeier has been working with our residents Shane Havens and Sarah Wierda on a research project to validate a new system for providing eyeglasses to children and adults in developing countries. A team trained by our doctors here at UNMC are taking a set of these glasses to Nigeria for an early trial this month. Mark your calendars and see the International Division update for information on the September 9 Night for Sight. This fabulous event which will support efforts to prevent and cure blindness worldwide will feature Dr. Geoffrey Tabin a pioneer in international ophthalmology with the Himalayan Cataract Project.  This will be well worth attending.  You will not want to miss it.

One of the major concerns of our colleagues in greater Nebraska is the need to recruit and train ophthalmologists who will serve the needs of our communities beyond Lincoln and Omaha. We are planning several initiatives to address this.  We are making efforts to attract outstanding medical students to the field of ophthalmology through support of the ophthalmology interest group at UNMC.  We are also planning develop rotations for our residents to work with some of our volunteer faculty in offices outside of Omaha and Lincoln.  I would also like to plan a time in conjunction with the NAEPS meeting for community ophthalmologists to meet our residents and fellows in an informal setting.  Longer term plans call for adding a third resident position after the Eye Institute opens.

I am anxious to hear your thoughts, should you want to share them, on any of these issues. I can be reached at truhlseneye@unmc.edu.

Dr. Hejkal

Contact Information
To comment or ask questions about the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute:
(402) 559-4276