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Wilmer Residency Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions about the Wilmer residency in ophthalmology. Keep in mind that there are changes in the schedule from year to year, so that certain rotations and resident responsibilities may change.

  1. What is the call schedule? 

    First Year (PGY-2)Wilmer (in house)
    Second Year (PGY-3)Bayview (from home)
     Wilmer primary weeknight call for the first 3 months of the year. Wilmer back-up (from home)
    Third Year (PGY-4)Bayview primary call for the first 3 months of the year. (from home)

  2. What are your interview dates for the 2014-2015 Match and how many applicants do you interview?
    The dates are October 23 and October 30, 2014. Both of these dates are a Thursday, so that applicants can first observe a Wilmer Grand Rounds from 7:30-8:30 a.m. prior to the start of the interview day. Each day of interviews will go from 9 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. We will interview approximately 35 of the 300-400 applicants.
  3. What is the size of the residency?
    There are currently 16 residents in the 2014-2015 year. Beginning with the entering class of 2013, we decreased to 5 residents per year (see below).
  4. What major changes are underway for the program?
    Following a careful review of the merger with Greater Baltimore Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology after more than ten years, it was decided not to renew the merger. In the current second-year class, the Johns Hopkins-Wilmer program selected 5 residents who began ophthalmology training in July 2013. GBMC will merge its residency with the University of Maryland. There will be a gradual transition between the Johns Hopkins-Wilmer/GBMC residency and the Johns Hopkins residency over upcoming few years, so that beginning in July 2015 there will be a total of 15 residents (five in each year of training), which was the size of the Wilmer residency prior to 1998. 

  5. Are USMLE Step 2 scores required?
    No (because they are not available from all applicants prior to our interview process), but they are helpful if available. Any updates to an applicant’s file must go through the Centralized Application Service (CAS) at
  6. Do you consider foreign medical graduates and what visa requirements do you have?
    Foreign medical graduates are considered for interviews. Applicants must be from an ACGME-accredited medical school or one that is approved by The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for reciprocity. There is an approved list of such schools; applicants from other schools must go through a review process. Foreign Medical Graduates must hold a valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) at time of appointment. Applicants must have a J1 visa sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. Johns Hopkins Hospital will process the visa on your behalf. In rare cases, an H1 visa may be acceptable, but this would require an internal review. A B or T visa is not acceptable.
  7. What does the program look for in applicants?
    Above all, we look for candidates who demonstrate a true passion for ophthalmology and who show the potential to become leaders in the field. There are no absolute requirements beyond what the CAS lists. We do not have minimum cut-off scores for USMLE or ECFMG examinations. Each application is carefully reviewed by multiple members of our selection committee. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or year of graduation from medical school. In general, however, applicants selected for an interview will have all or most of the following:

    1. Excellent board scores.
    2. Outstanding grades.
    3. Selection to AOA (if available) at the applicant’s medical school.
    4. Evidence of scholarly activity (clinical or bench research, publications).
    5. Outstanding letters of recommendation from faculty who can comment on applicants based on personal interaction.
    6. Favorable Dean’s Letter.
    7. Demonstrated leadership potential
  8. Why is a criminal background check required for residents?
    It is the policy of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that all offers of a house staff position (as well as offers to applicants for medical school or fellowship in any Graduate Medical Education program sponsored by Johns Hopkins) are conditional, based on a review of the prospective house officer’s criminal background. The University reserves the right to rescind an offer of appointment to any educational or training program, including the Wilmer Eye Institute, to any individual whose background investigation reveals a history of criminal conduct that:

    a) the University reasonably determines increases the risk of harm to patients or individuals on Johns Hopkins premises; or
    b) was not accurately disclosed in response to a direct question regarding criminal history on any application for admission or appointment in connection with the program; or
    c) is inconsistent with the high standard of ethical conduct required of all members of the academic community or is otherwise unbefitting a member of the academic community. A complete description of the policy is available upon request.

  9. Is there anything additional beyond what CAS requires?   Can I send additional information after the deadline date?
    We do not require anything beyond the minimum requirements listed by CAS. We recognize that our early application deadline results in some relevant information becoming available after the deadline, such as election to AOA, publication of a scholarly journal article, grades, Dean’s Letter, or board scores, and such information can be sent to CAS for forwarding to our admissions committee. Do not send the information directly to Wilmer, as it may very well not be distributed to all members of the committee. Please do not send extra letters of recommendation, reprints of publications, etc.
  10. What are the minimum board scores required to be considered for an interview?
    We do not have minimum scores. While most applicants who are invited for interviews have scores above the 90th percentile, a variety of factors go into our decision to interview any given applicant.
  11. Do you sponsor internships or transitional years?
    No; applicants must apply separately through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) for their PGY-1 year.

    For applicants who match with us and who wish to do their internship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital or at The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, we are happy to speak with the program directors at those institutions to facilitate the process as much as possible. Similarly, in the absence of a “couples match,” we strive to work with other departments to which the spouse or significant other of one of our applicants is applying for residency.
  12. Does the program allow clinical elective rotations for residents from outside programs?

    Unfortunately the hospital regulations require that all residents be fully credentialed at Johns Hopkins to participate in patient care activities and at this time we are unable to accept requests for electives unless the residents is already credentialed at Hopkins or will be an incoming resident.

  13. What makes the Wilmer program special?

    1. The breadth of the faculty, which includes nationally and internationally recognized experts in every subspecialty, who are committed to teaching the residents.  There are over 20 endowed chairs at Wilmer, signifying not only the excellence of the faculty, but the extraordinary generosity of the patients and former faculty who have sponsored them. 

    2. The variety of patients seen.

    3. The commitment to “learning by doing,” with busy and vibrant General Eye Services in which the residents are the primary care providers and enjoy continuity with patients over 3 years, with graduated autonomy.

    4. The Wilmer Chief Resident (Assistant Chief of Service, or ACS), a one-year faculty position filled by a former Wilmer resident who has done two years of fellowship training.  The ACS works closely with all three years of residents, and the bonds between the first-year residents and their “Chief” often last a lifetime.

    5. The Wilmer Eye Emergency Service, Maryland’s only designated trauma center for ocular injuries, and through which residents see an enormous range of eye pathology during their residency.

    6. The Consultation Services, in which residents see inpatients on other services within Johns Hopkins Hospital, providing frequent interaction with other medical and surgical disciplines.

    7. The interactions with one’s fellow residents, providing a “critical mass” of intellectual stimulation as well as close personal friendships.

    8. In addition to their numerous publications in the peer-reviewed literature and presentations at major ophthalmology meetings such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Wilmer residents have received numerous fellowships.

  14. Who applies to Wilmer?
    In the most recent year for which data are available, there were approximately 450 applicants. The interviewees included 20 women and 15 men from 29 different medical schools. The average USMLE Step 1 scores ranged from 186-268 (mean 243) and the Step 2 scores (when available) ranged from 195-270 (mean 253).
  15. How are residents evaluated, how are work hours monitored, and how do residents keep track of their surgical cases?
    Faculty members complete an evaluation of the resident at the end of each rotation using E-Value. In addition to ongoing in-person feedback, residents receive formal evaluations mid-way through the rotation.These evaluations may be done by a single faculty member (e.g., the Assistant Chief of Service) or a consensus of divisional faculty, depending on the rotation. E-Value is also used by residents to complete and see their own evaluations of faculty and rotations. Feedback on a resident’s performance is also obtained from peers, patients, and staff as required by the ACGME. The program director also meets with each resident at least twice a year to review performance and develop individual learning goals.  E-Value is also used by residents to log their duty hours. Residents log their surgical cases on the required ACGME website.

    Beginning in 2014-2015 academic year, residents will also be evaluated by the Clinical Competency Committee composed of several faculty members who will evaluate each residents’ progress every 6 months based on the ACGME ophthalmology milestones.   This data will be shared with each resident at their semi-annual reviews to provide even more detailed feedback about their performance.

  16. What is the surgical experience and volume for Wilmer residents? 
    Wilmer residents begin operating as primary surgeons in the first year of residency performing primary oculoplastics and strabismus cases as well as laser procedures and intravitreal injections. Residents are introduced to microsurgical skills during their first year as part of the Wilmer cataract curriculum and assist and number of anterior segment cases. As second years, Wilmer residents perform primary incisional glaucoma surgery, cataract and corneal surgery, globe repairs as well as additional lasers. The third year surgical experience is focused on cataract and anterior segment surgery, refractive and retinal surgery. With regard to volume, the five residents in the class of 2013 performed the following procedures as primary surgeon: a total of 658 cataract surgeries, 22 penetrating keratoplasties, 182 strabismus surgeries, 101 glaucoma surgeries, 51 vitreoretinal surgeries, 163 retina laser procedures, 312 oculoplastic procedures, and 83 globe trauma procedures. Overall, they performed 2225 procedures as primary surgeons.

  17. How does the Wilmer residency support research?

    Wilmer is an outstanding research institution with faculty doing a tremendous variety of research. As such, Wilmer residents participate in many different types of research projects ranging from basic science to clinical trials to epidemiological studies. Wilmer residents are eligible for Wilmer Resident Association research grants of up to $2,000 per year. In addition, the several residents receive the Mitchell Prize for Resident research every year, an award of several thousand dollars. Finally, all residents are given 2 days off for attending scientific meetings each year with additional time permitted to present research at national meetings.  

  18. What did recent graduates of Wilmer do after completion of their residency?

Class of 2014
Pavle Dorslovacki: Neuro-ophthalmology, Scheie Eye Center
Ronald Gutmark: Cornea Fellowship, University of California San Diego
Amanda Kiely: Glaucoma Fellowship, Duke Eye Center
Fang Ko: Glaucoma Fellowship, Moorefields Eye Hospital
David Poon: Retina Fellowship, Wilmer Eye Institute
Mira Sachdeva: Retina Fellowship, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Surajit Saha: Cornea Fellowship, Cleveland Clinic
Shannon Shan: Oculoplastics, University of Michigan

Class of 2013:
Allen Eghrari: Cornea Fellowship, Wilmer Eye Institute
Ian Han: Retina Fellowship, Wilmer Eye Institute
Valliammai Muthappan: Cornea Fellowship, Moran Eye Center
Fatemeh Rajaii: Oculoplastics Fellowship, Kellogg Eye Center
Shaun B. Robinson: Cornea Fellowship, Baylor

Class of 2012:
John Peter Campbell: Retina Fellowship, Casey Eye Institute
Connie Chen: Retina Fellowship, Wilmer Eye Institute
Elizabeth Houle: Oculoplastics Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh
Christina Moon: Cornea Fellowship, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Afshan Nanji: Cornea Fellowship, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
David Ramsey: Retina Fellowship, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Christina Weng: Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Class of 2011:
Bryn Burkholder: Uveitis Fellowship, Wilmer Eye Institute
Nguyen (Khoi) Ha: Retina Fellowship, Wilmer Eye Institute
Bryan Lee: Cornea Fellowship, Minneapolis Eye Consultants
Sophie Liao: Oculoplastic Fellowship, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (2012)
Alli McCoy: Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship, Wilmer Eye Institute
Daniel Paskowitz: Cornea Fellowship, Wilmer Eye Institute
Fasika Woreta: Cornea Fellowship, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

> View Past Graduates

Sanford Greenberg Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Jennifer Thorne Appointed President-elect of American Uveitis Society- 5/17/16

Dr. Ingrid Zimmer-Galler Elected to the ATA College of Fellows- 5/13/16

Dr. Arevalo Launches New Book at ARVO 2016- 5/09/16

Dr. Elia J. Duh is elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation- 4/28/16

Dr. Maria Valeria Canto Soler Wins BrightFocus Award for Macular Degeneration Research- 4/27/16

Three Wilmer Faculty Voted Most Influential in Field of Ophthalmology- 4/22/2016

Dr. Pradeep Ramulu Wins Pisart Award for Significant Achievement in Vision Science Research- 4/21/16

Dr. Eghrari Receives Alcon Early Career Research Award- 4/13/16

Dr. Quigley Honored by American Glaucoma Society- 4/11/16

Dr. Ian Pitha Awarded Grants for Glaucoma Research- 4/11/16