The glaucoma fellowship is under Drs. Paul Palmberg, Richard Parrish, Steven Gedde, Richard Lee, Anna Junk, Michael Banitt, Sarah Wellik and Jeffrey Goldberg, all of whom are glaucoma specialists on the full-time faculty of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The program is supplemented by the most valuable participation of part-time faculty members Drs. Elizabeth Hodapp, Alana Grajewski and Mark Werner.
Most of our fellows have been interested primarily in a year of clinical experience with glaucoma, but some have wanted a broad experience including exposure to techniques of clinical research, laboratory research, or both. Some with a special interest in an academic career who need to be firmly grounded in research techniques have tailor-made fellowships, sometimes extending their time an extra 6 or 12 months. In any case, we try to arrange combinations of exposure to clinical care and research activities according to the career goals of the individual applicant, taking into account whether or not any particular combination of activities is in keeping with current activities of the faculty, facilities and other resources available, and any existing commitments to other trainees or applicants during a given year. For some individuals, a standard one-year clinical fellowship here that is supplemented by additional experience elsewhere is the best career preparation.
The typical one-year fellowship consists of seeing private consultation patients with the full-time faculty and participating in our surgery. The fellows also spend one-half day weekly in a general ophthalmology practice as a member of our faculty or supervising residents in their general clinic, and there are several weekly conferences and teaching rounds within the department. Weekly Grand Rounds of the Ophthalmology Department consist of presentations of cases by the residents and fellows with subsequent discussion. There is a separate a weekly conference of the glaucoma fellows with the glaucoma faculty to discuss topics and journal articles of interest. These activities fill up nearly all of the week, but do leave time to pursue reading or individual research projects that a fellow may wish to undertake.
Each fellow does at least one small project in order to understand what goes into research and to learn to evaluate the literature better. The results of the research studies of every resident and fellow are presented in a two-day program held in June. Most have undertaken retrospective reviews of clinical records in an effort to generate new knowledge, but we also encourage other types of research, such as exploration of questions of natural history, evaluation of diagnostic tests (disc or nerve fiber imaging, perimetry, electrophysiology), and therapy being studied in controlled prospective studies, especially for those who intend to include research efforts in their future academic career. For certain projects of these types it is necessary to set aside time to see research patients for special examinations in a careful manner that can’t be done during the busy clinical consultation schedule. Unless the fellow has considerable prior research experience, preparation for a career that will include extensive research may best include a second year of fellowship.
The funding for fellowship positions varies according to the nature of the position. For a one-year clinical fellowship, funds are generally available from the institution, but we make every effort to find suitable outside sources of funding whenever possible. Research fellowship funding is more difficult to obtain. Those who want two years of research training may apply to NIH if they are U.S. citizens. Funding for research training has to be worked out with each individual applicant.
Some of the activities of the fellows constitute practicing medicine as members of the University medical group, and they must therefore have an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the State of Florida. It differs from the status of ophthalmology residents, who are hospital-employed and conduct their supervised activities as “registered” unlicensed physicians enrolled in a program required for Certification by the American Board of Ophthalmology.
Requirements to obtain a Florida license to practice medicine changes from time to time, but should not be problematic for anyone who is a citizen or permanent resident of the USA and had all medical training in the USA. However, you may wish to confirm current requirements from the Florida Department of Health. Once accepted through the matching program, the fellow must himself apply for a license, and this cannot be done by the institution. Moreover, the offer for employment as a fellow is contingent on his obtaining the required license.
It would be helpful if you could provide a letter stating to what degree you are seeking exposure to clinical practice, clinical research or laboratory research, and how this would fit into your ultimate career goal.
You should be aware that we and most other glaucoma fellowship programs participate in a matching program. Application material should reach us before the beginning of September, because we plan to interview selected applicants during October and November in order to meet the deadline for submitting the match list in December. Information and Central Application Service forms relating to the Fellowship Matching Program can be obtained from: Ophthalmology Fellowship Match , P.O. Box 7584, San Francisco, California 94120-7584 (415/447-0350).
Deadline for receipt of application is September 1.
Kathy Corser (fellowship coordinator)
P.O. Box 016880
Miami, FL 33101
800/329-7000 ext. 6391