UIC welcomes six new team members
Six of medicine’s brightest doctors have joined the ophthalmology residency program at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary (IEEI). From a physician who hails from a family of eye doctors to a former economics major who switched gears and enrolled in medical school, learn what inspired our residents to choose a career in ophthalmology.
Michael graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Medicine, where he received the Dean Eleanor Tyler Memorial Award for outstanding medical student in its accelerated BA/MD program. He has worked on dozens of diverse research projects and published in several fields, including age-related macular degeneration and ocular imaging. For Michael, ophthalmology is a family affair. Both of his parents are optometrists, and two siblings are accomplished ophthalmologists.
“Medicine and the eye have permeated my entire life,” says Michael. “A love for learning and healing has guided me to the obvious choice of ophthalmology. This dedication to the eye began with my macular degeneration research. While studying this disease, I was exposed to the incredible intricacy of the retina. I was soon awed by the complexity of other ocular pathology, and the coordination of clinicians and researchers studying this field inspired me.”
Asim graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and earned a master’s degree in Public Health from Benedictine University. Early on in medical school and unsure of which specialty to pursue, Asim saw a documentary on an American ophthalmologist doing work in India that left a lasting impression on him. But it was a month-long elective at the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute that convinced him to pursue a career in ophthalmology. At UIC, Asim learned clinical skills under Dr. Joel Sugar and Dr. Deepak Shukla. And, in a full-circle experience, he found himself in Dhaka, Bangladesh, working with patients at the Lions Eye Institute and Hospital.
“The broad range of experiences I have had thus far has allowed me to grow as a person and develop a deep passion for medicine in general and ophthalmology in particular,” says Asim. “I am looking to obtain an excellent training experience in an ophthalmology residency as the foundation for a career of serving others.”
Sachin earned his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. He also holds a BS in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics from the Illinois Institute of Technology. During his rotation at the IEEI, Sachin was “in awe” as he observed Dr. William Mieler operate on a patient with tractional retinal detachment. He also gained a deep appreciation for the complexity of the various subspecialties in ophthalmology. The experience at IEEI led Sachin to pursue research with a retinal specialist in Peoria.
“Ophthalmology combines the elements that I have enjoyed most during my rotations,” notes Sachin, “including precise surgical interventions, clinic practice, a mixture of acute and chronic diseases, utilization of cutting-edge technology, the opportunity for continuous innovation, and the ability to follow patients over time.”
Bryan graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine and holds a BA in Economics from Harvard University. His passion for ophthalmology led him to pursue various research projects, including the development of a novel artificial cornea. Bryan has also presented a poster on DSEK outcomes at the World Cornea Congress, and a paper on the risk factors for retinal detachment associated with open globe trauma at the annual meeting of the Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.
“My experiences over the past year have led me to the conclusion that there is no better career for me than ophthalmology,” says Bryan. “My intense fascination with the human eye, my joy in performing academic research, my love of the intricacies of microsurgery, and my desire to provide therapeutic and empathetic patient care all make me thrilled at the prospect of a lifelong journey of being an ophthalmologist.”
Ernest graduated from Dartmouth Medical School and holds a BA in Psychology from Dartmouth College. Initially interested in a career in economics, an internship at a hedge fund convinced Ernest that the world of finance was not for him. Upon returning to college, he promptly changed his major and chose to attend medical school. His experiences at the Eye Clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and a surgical clerkship drew him to the field of ophthalmology.
“Towards the end of my first week at DHMC’s Eye Clinic, I was able to visualize a patient’s optic disc using the 90 D lens at the slit lamp. Both awe and excitement came over me, “ recalls Ernest. “My attending smiled and clairvoyantly said that once a student is able to visualize the fundus, he ends up in ophthalmology. Although she foretold the truth, I know that I took the time and saw more than just the retina before truly arriving at ophthalmology as the right specialty for me.”
Kaitlyn graduated from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. She also earned a BA in Biophysical Chemistry from Dartmouth College. An experience treating a little boy from South America and bolstering his chances for improved sight and a better quality of life was an inspiration for Kaitlyn and the career path she chose.
“A patient with a visual complaint can teach his or her physician invaluable lessons such as patience, perseverance, and the absolute miracle of relative gains,” says Kaitlyn.
“The satisfying combination of forming these truly unique relationships and being part of an ever-changing surgical field is why I desire to become a member of this profession. My research and clinical experiences have repeatedly affirmed my decision to pursue ophthalmology as a career.”
by Margaret Doyle