The International Division of Ophthalmology will work to expose UNMC Department of Ophthalmology faculty, residents, fellows, and UNMC medical students to the work and need within the developing world, while simultaneously facilitating avenues for cross-educational exchange and training of international eye care workers.
The International Division acknowledges the importance of teaching ophthalmic care at all levels and to that end seeks to establish six education platforms: Residency; Subspecialty; Medical Student; Allied Health; Continuing Education and E-Learning. Through this framework skills-transfer education will be taught and provided both overseas at within the walls of the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute.
The need for ophthalmologists with high quality education and training is of critical importance to preserving and restoring vision. This is particularly important in developing countries where there are not an adequate number of skilled eye professionals. The International Division will help facilitate observership opportunities for UNMC Department of Ophthalmology third-year residents/fellows as well as international ophthalmic residents with the express goal of providing each advanced training on the prevention and treatment of eye diseases prevalent in the developing world. Another key area of focus will be ophthalmic residency training programs in the developing world, which are often poorly organized and underdeveloped. The division will work to improve residency training through curriculum development, resident exchange/observerships and hands-on in country teaching/training.
Subspecialty training is critical to improving the quality of eye care and residency education in the developing world. Currently, there are very few opportunities for subspecialty training for Ophthalmologists in the developing world. The International Division will work with partnered International entities to identify promising Ophthalmologists who have an interest in subspecialty education and use our connections to help facilitate advanced clinical and surgical training for that physician.
The increasing age of the world population, high prevalence of common problems such as eye injury and the importance of vision support the need to expand ophthalmic medical student education. The International Division of Ophthalmology will partner with various in-house organizations to promote UNMC medical student education related to the field of ophthalmology and where applicable provide a platform for UNMC students to contribute to ophthalmic research projects and eye care initiatives being done locally and abroad.
Training of allied ophthalmic personnel can make a major contribution to improving eye care in developing countries where there exists a significant shortage of ophthalmologists. Where applicable, the International Division of Ophthalmology will utilize its partnerships to help facilitate the training and education of eye workers (ophthalmic assistants/technicians) from the developing world.
There is a critical need to help ophthalmologists maintain their competency and learn new skills, with the ultimate goal of preventing avoidable blindness and visual loss. The International Division will work to partner University of Nebraska affiliated ophthalmologists with international ophthalmologists who have completed an UNMC Department of Ophthalmology International Subspecialty fellowship for ongoing mentoring and collaboration. We hope these relationships will foster eye outreach camps that are attended by the affiliated UNMC Ophthalmologist for on-site evaluation and continued mentorship.
The development and availability of technology can revolutionize ophthalmic education, helping teachers and students connect efficiently and economically. The International Division plans to utilize UNMC developed second opinion software (made available to us through International Healthcare Services) to put physicians from around the world in touch with our department’s best and brightest.