Young Ophthalmology Section Update
Submitted by Arjan Hura, MD
On February 19th, 2022, the Ohio Ophthalmological Society (OOS) held the second annual Young Ophthalmology event at the annual OOS meeting in Columbus, OH for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded in 2019 and officially voted on and ratified into OOS bylaws at this year’s 2022 annual meeting, the OOS YO section serves medical students, residents, fellows, and those in their first five years of practice, and aims to connect these young ophthalmologists from around the state of Ohio to support advocacy efforts, residency/fellowship selection, career planning, contract negotiation, global ophthalmology efforts, and job hunting. The attendance at this year’s private YO lunch exceeded that of 2019 and included a wonderful panel featuring Aleksandra Rachitskaya, MD, Basil Williams, MD, Adam Kaufman, MD, Shamik Bafna, MD, Joseph Coney, MD, and was moderated by the Founder and Chair of the OOS YO section, Arjan Hura, MD.
Attendees enjoyed a wealth of knowledge and wisdom transfer. Here are several highlights from the interactive discussion:
- Be your authentic self. Getting into medical school and then ophthalmology residency is not easy. Along the journey, It is possible to get involved with activities or act in such a manner that one feels is necessary to advance one’s career, but being true to oneself, pursuing one’s passions, and paving the path you want to walk will be freeing and fulfilling.
- Get involved early. It is never to late to get involved /‘s give back to our profession, but it is also never too early to get started. Getting involved with state or national societies is a way of staying engaged with the profession outside of patient care and is a wonderful way to meet other people and open doors to new opportunities.
- Find a mentor regardless of what stage of career you’re in. There is always someone who has walked the path before you, and it can be beneficial to navigate your career and avoid pitfalls and common mistakes under the guidance of a mentor. Don’t seek just one mentor, find multiple mentors for all aspects of life. When it comes time, pay it forward and help those following you!
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you’ve never met before for help. If you don’t connect the first time, keep trying. Persistence can pay off. What’s the worst that can happen - your call or email go unanswered? You will never know unless you try or ask.
- Good residents and fellows universally tend to share similar characteristics. Seek to be motivated, passionate, and self-driven, and ophthalmology training will ultimately be more rewarding and fulfilling.
- Research. Research matters more to some programs than others, and although all research is viewed favorably, ophthalmic-specific research is more beneficial and can help lead into natural conversations during a residency or fellowship interview. There is a big difference between a case report and a manuscript, and between something in process, in submission, and that has been accepted into the peer-reviewed literature.
- Academic versus private practice. Both settings are necessary and have their pros and cons. Ophthalmology is a unique field in that both research and teaching can still be done in the private practice setting, and sometimes it can be easier to get industry collaboration or clinical trials started in the private practice setting. Private equity is currently taking ophthalmology and other specialties by storm, and it will be beneficial to get legal counsel when reviewing job contracts if looking into going into private practice in order to properly navigate things like future partnership.