Update From the Chair
|Thomas Hejkal, M.D.|
Dr. Carl Camras, my predecessor as chair of this department, had a dream - a dream that he shared with our mutual friend and colleague, Dr. Stanley Truhlsen. Their dream was not so small as establishing a world-class eye institute here at UNMC. They wanted to cure blindness! They both saw the development of a premier eye institute at UNMC as the next big step in the fight against blindness.
On Dec. 6, we broke ground for the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute. In a sense, this was a belated groundbreaking ceremony. Carl and Stan “broke ground” for the eye institute years ago by developing a first-class department of ophthalmology and visual sciences at UNMC. Carl recruited outstanding clinical faculty as well as excellent basic scientists who are now conducting world-class research in glaucoma, retinal diseases, cataracts and vision restoration at the Truhlsen Eye Research Laboratories at UNMC.
Within the Truhlsen Eye Institute will be a Clinical Research Center. This center will be closely integrated with patient care areas and with an Regional Diagnostic Center. The Clinical Research Center will allow us to bring research advances to our patients through clinical trials. With the support from Clinical Research, state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment not readily available otherwise, will be available to our community.
I am very grateful for the privilege to be a part of this great venture.
Ophthalmologists for Nebraska
I recently visited several of our ophthalmology colleagues around Nebraska to learn how UNMC and the Truhlsen Eye Institute can best serve the needs of our colleagues and our patients. Two of the common themes that I heard were:
1) We need to recruit and train ophthalmologists who will stay in Nebraska to serve our communities outside of Lincoln and Omaha.
2) We need more outreach by subspecialists at UNMC to serve communities in greater Nebraska.
Several people also expressed the need for additional subspecialty care especially in the areas of uveitis, oculoplastics, ocular and orbital oncology, pediatrics, neuro-ophthalmology and retina. To respond to these needs, I am establishing an ad hoc task force to assess the future eye care needs of Nebraska and the region and to develop a plan to meet those needs.
Dr. Michael Feilmeier, Adjunct Assistant Professor - along with his wife Jessica - are working with me and others at UNMC to develop a new International Division in our department. Mike and Jessica bring much experience and enthusiasm to this project. During Mike’s fellowship through the Moran Eye Center in Utah, they spent six months on international eye-care projects around the world. They have great ideas to help UNMC become a leader in the effort to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in the developing world.
I am anxious to hear your thoughts, should you want to share them, on any of these issues. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.