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A central goal of the Wilmer Glaucoma Center of Excellence (GCE) is to train and develop the next generation of clinical experts and thought leaders in glaucoma. Training is focused on three groups of individuals:
- Ophthalmology residents
- Glaucoma fellows
- Pre- and post-doctoral students
Five ophthalmology residents train at Wilmer every year, and each resident spends two and one half months learning from us in the clinic and operating room. Our faculty is highly committed to resident training and has pioneered a number of novel methods to provide them the best possible teaching. For example, each resident is taught the fundamentals of surgery in a practice lab setting, one-on-one with a faculty mentor prior to their clinical rotation with us. We have also created a set of novel web-based resident teaching modules which illustrate the fundamentals of glaucoma diagnosis and treatment. Finally, we have “flipped” our classroom teaching approach - putting lecture materials online and spending valuable classroom time on small-group case-based discussions which bring to life the principles outlined in lecture.
Subspecialty Training for Glaucoma
Each July, two clinical fellows (having completed ophthalmology residency) are selected to work with us for one year in subspecialty training for glaucoma. Our fellows spend most of their time with us in clinic and operating room and receive additional training through various means (also attended by our residents and students), including:
- Weekly meetings in which we discuss our latest research on how we can better diagnose and care for glaucoma patients
- Weekly "rounds" in which the clinical care of the most complex glaucoma patients is discussed
- Bimonthly journal clubs in which the latest glaucoma literature is reviewed
We also offer a 4-5 year mentored training program for those post-residency who wish to become full-time academic glaucoma specialists. This provides a faculty-level salary, clinical practice as part of the glaucoma team, and 75 percent protected time to train in clinical or laboratory research under the NIH K award program.
Finally, the GCE has several students working on laboratory or clinical research projects at any given time. These students might be at any stage of training, including the undergraduate, graduate/medical school or post-doctoral level. They spend all of their time focusing on a research question, producing knowledge which will help us care for glaucoma better in the future. They leave us with special research skills which will help them develop their individual careers in the future.