A commitment to international health has long been a priority within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. This is no more evident than with the doctors and staff in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, who volunteer their time and resources to travel to various parts of the world to preserve the eyesight of people in developing countries. This global responsibility is now an integral component of the ophthalmology residency program.
Umang Mathur, MS, medical director and cornea specialist at Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in New Delhi, India, presented a lecture on “Challenges and Interventions in Delivery of Eye Care in India” on Friday, May 13, 2016 as part of the department’s Grand Rounds series. Dr. Mathur and colleagues partnered with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences to create an opportunity for residents to receive surgical training and deliver patient care at their New Delhi hospital.
Dr. Mathur is a champion of cross-cultural medical training, and welcomed the opportunity to introduce University of Wisconsin ophthalmology residents to the challenges of delivering eye care in a health system that has a substantial, under-served patient base with limited resources and technology.
Third-year (PGY4) residents and faculty sponsors from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences travel to Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital for two weeks each winter to learn extracapsular cataract extraction, a surgery first performed in the United States and perfected in India and other countries in a mass-production style. They share medical knowledge among colleagues while treating patients in a different model of eye health care delivery. Residents also examine, diagnose, and treat patients in a remote outreach clinic setting, and learn how to effectively navigate language and cultural differences.
Dr. Young, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, views this as a valuable opportunity for Dr. Mathur to further develop relationships with faculty. “We are pleased that Dr. Mathur will visit our department during his upcoming trip to the United States. He and his colleagues provide excellent surgical training to our residents in India. We hope to share information and resources through exchanges between our faculties.”
Dr. Mathur met with representatives from Combat Blindness International, a non-profit organization working to provide surgeries and treatment to underserved populations worldwide. Combat Blindness is headquartered in Madison and was founded in 1984 by Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Professor Emeritus Dr. Suresh Chandra.
The combined efforts of Terri Young, MD, MBA; Suresh Chandra, MD; and Andrew Thliveris, MD, PhD – Ophthalmology Residency Program Director – initiated and fostered this relationship with Dr. Mathur and his team of ophthalmologists at Shroff’s. These physicians adhere to the belief that an international patient care experience expands the knowledge and breadth of ophthalmic training, and also enhances a global citizen perspective.