The Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine community came together for a ribbon cutting at the newly renovated and expanded residents lounge at the Patient Access Center for the Eye (PACE) clinic Friday, Sept. 2.
The lounge — nearly twice its previous size at about 700 square feet — now has workstations for each of Wilmer’s 15 residents along with updated amenities. “It’s night and day,” says Narine Viruni, M.D., one of the residency program’s two assistant chiefs of service, who was a resident at Wilmer from 2017 to 2020. “I think the residents deserve a nice space to work at and it’s certainly really nice now.”
Strategically located within the PACE clinic where the residents see their patients, the lounge was renovated to improve resident wellness, says Fasika Woreta, M.D., M.P.H., director of Wilmer’s residency program and the Eugene de Juan, M.D. Professor of Ophthalmic Education.
The concept for the new space was to give residents their own places to work while also having a common area for social interaction. “The camaraderie that comes from being in the trenches together and working together with your colleagues is very nice,” says Divya Srikumaran, M.D., Wilmer’s vice chair of education.
Loka Thangamathesvaran, M.D., a member of the residency class of 2023, says the new space is more accommodating and she has already noticed an increased feeling of togetherness within the residency since residents now have a larger space where they can gather. “There’s a lot more positive energy within the workplace,” she says. “I think it creates a team environment.”
Chris Cho, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the residency class of 2025, says the lounge makes the workday more exciting. “We had heard that this was going to be the next beautiful, big thing, and it was exactly that,” he says. “It definitely makes coming to work a lot more pleasant and fun.”
Funding for the lounge renovations came from donations from Parag Parekh, M.D., a graduate of the Wilmer residency class of 2007, and the family of the late Mark Raymond Sawusch, M.D., who was a member of the class of 1989. As a result, the project strengthens the legacy of the Wilmer residency, connecting current and future Wilmer residents with residents of the past. “Giving back to the residency that trained them is amazing,” Woreta says. “Residency can be a stressful time in a doctor’s life, and this shows we care about them. We’re grateful for their generous support.”