Department Strengthens International Ties

Sima Das, MD, visited Madison and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in early October, to observe oculoplastics, clinics and surgeries, as part of the department’s growing exchange with Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in Delhi, India.

“For the past two years we have offered our third-year residents the opportunity to learn about ophthalmology surgery and patient care in India,” says Andrew Thliveris, MD, PhD, Vice Chair of Resident Education. “Dr. Das’ visit along with a visit from Dr. Umong Mather, Director of Ophthalmology at Shroff’s, gives us the opportunity to share how we practice here; patient care here is very different than it is in India.”

Dr. Das’ observed in oculoplastics, her clinical specialty, as well as in comprehensive care and glaucoma, but her main focus for the visit was to learn more about how we train our residents. Shroff’s does not have a residency program, according Dr. Das.  “We have applied for a residency program and are awaiting approval from the government. I was pleased to visit with the resident education leadership, as well as education administration to learn about how residents here are trained.”

During the first resident rotation in 2014, Shroff’s physicians observed Drs. Thliveris and Knoch’s methods of surgical teaching and worked with them to replicate some of their techniques. That effort resulted in improved patient outcomes and will also produce a co-authored paper.

“This is exactly the kind of result we hope to achieve from our exchange program,” suggests Dr. Thliveris.

Program aspects Dr. Das found particularly interesting were our newly implemented wet-lab surgical training and the highly structured evaluative process required by the ACGME to ensure residents graduate with the competencies key to their success.

Third year residents will travel to Shroff’s again in February 2017 with Sarah Nehls, MD (cornea specialist) and Heather Potter, MD (comprehensive and pathology specialist) as our on-site attending physicians.

“We learned last year that Shroff’s is particularly interested in hosting specialty physicians” said Dr. Yao Liu, whose specialty is glaucoma. “Dr. Michael Altaweel, who is a retina surgeon, and I spent much more time talking with fellow physicians than we expected. They are as interested in what we do here, as we are interested in their positive outcomes, so it truly is a win-win.”