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Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Fellowship
Fellowship History and Structure
The Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Fellowship Program at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute was established in 1989 and participates in the Ophthalmology Fellowship Match Program. This Fellowship program offers one-year of clinical training devoted to the medical and surgical management of uveitis and related ocular inflammatory diseases. An optional second year devoted to research pursuits is available. In addition, there is an option for extensive training in clinical research leading to an advanced degree, which can be funded through a K award from the National Eye Institute (NEI). The flexibility of this fellowship allows for successful transition into academic or private practice. Of our fellowship graduates, the majority currently hold appointments as faculty in academic departments of ophthalmology.
Clinical Operations and Patient Care Responsibilities
The fellow will spend multiple days each week in clinic diagnosing and treating patients with uveitis, scleritis, mucous membrane pemphigoid and other ocular inflammatory diseases. The uveitis clinics with various faculty will give the fellow a broad field of exposure to patients with anterior, intermediate, posterior and panuveitis, as well as scleritis and orbital inflammatory diseases. In addition, there are clinics devoted to HIV- infected patients who are followed regularly for ocular complications of AIDS. Many of these patients are participants in epidemiological studies and clinical trials, in which the fellow will participate.
Fellows will become experienced in the medical and surgical management of ocular inflammatory disease and exposed to all modalities of treatment of ocular inflammation (including topical, periocular, intravitreal and oral corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressive agents and biologics) and with ocular complications of AIDS, especially CMV retinitis. The division also sees patients after bone marrow or solid organ transplants that may develop either infectious or inflammatory anterior and posterior segment complications. Surgical experience includes placement of fluocinolone and ganciclovir implants, and cataract surgery in patients with uveitis. Training focuses on the effective pre-operative and post-operative management of patients with uveitis. Additional experience in trabeculectomy, secondary intraocular lens (IOL) placement, and penetrating keratoplasty is provided.
Clinical Year Schedule
- Mondays: Patients with Dr. Khan
- Tuesdays: Patients with Dr. Burkholder
- Wednesdays: Patients with Dr. Reddy
- Thursdays: Patients with Dr. Thorne
- Fridays: Meetings, clinical conferences, operating room or administrative time (AM); Fellow clinic or operating room with Dr. Berkenstock (PM)
Patients are seen five days per week under faculty supervision. Fellows will perform the initial evaluation for new patients as well as evaluating appropriate follow-up patients. Treatment for these immune-mediated disorders is largely medical. A small amount of anterior segment surgery, including cataract surgery, as well as placement of pharmacological implants is performed, The fellow will be expected to assist, when available.Procedural Requirements
A second year in the fellowship may be devoted to either clinical or laboratory research. Fellows pursing clinical research will be taught approaches to epidemiologic studies and/or clinical trials, including the use of appropriate statistical techniques. Fellows are encouraged to identify a preceptor and begin planning the project in their first year so that applications for financial support can be submitted well in advance of the start of the actual project. Projects in other divisions, such as the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, in other Departments, or in the School of Public Health, may be developed as well. Faculty are happy to discuss current research studies during applicant interviews.
There is a monthly uveitis case management conference with division faculty, as well as faculty members from other divisions with an interest in uveitis. There are daily departmental lectures given each morning for the residents, which fellows also can attend, and these lectures have been found to be very helpful, particularly when studying for boards or medical exams. There is a weekly “grand rounds” on Thursdays, titled “Thursday Morning Conference,” and a monthly Uveitis Journal Club with faculty, fellows and second year residents. The clinical schedule allows the fellow to attend these lectures and conferences.
Fellows are evaluated by the program director quarterly. Each faculty member will submit an evaluation of the fellow commenting on and rating the fellow’s clinical and administrative capabilities (e.g., history taking, patient examination, surgical skills and timeliness of returning patient calls and dictating notes), teaching and presentation skills, and interactions with patients and colleagues. The program director will summarize these evaluations and discuss them with the fellow, identifying strengths and areas for improvement.
Requirements for Applicants
Applicants should have satisfactorily completed an accredited residency program, preferably within the United States, prior to starting this fellowship.The Uveitis Fellowship is part of the formal Ophthalmology Fellowship Match Program (OFMP).
If you have fulfilled 3 years of ophthalmology residency, please register for the match at www.sfmatch.org and complete the Central Application Service form, which requires three letters of recommendation (we prefer one from your current program director) and a personal statement explaining your interest in the program. Please include any research interests that you may have in your CAS personal statement. Additional information (if deemed essential to the candidate’s application) may be forwarded to Dr. Thorne at the address below with a cover letter that includes the applicant’s match number and the dates of the fellowship for which the applicant is applying.
A personal interview at Johns Hopkins is required and typically takes place between late September and November for the fellowship year beginning in July of the following year. Only the applicants with complete files will be invited for an interview. Accepted fellows who have trained in the United States may be eligible for a faculty appointment through the Advanced Subspecialty Training Program (ASTP). This more prestigious appointment includes faculty status in the hospital as well as a faculty benefits package. Please direct all questions and any additional documents to:Jennifer E. Thorne, M.D., Ph.D.
Fellowship Director, Division of Ocular Immunology
The Wilmer Eye Institute
600 North Wolfe Street
Maumenee Building, Room 119
Baltimore, MD 21287
Phone: (410) 955-1966
Fax: (410) 955-0629
Alternate Contact:Pat Hines
Clinical Coordinator, Division of Ocular Immunology and Uveitis
The Wilmer Eye Institute
Phone: (410) 502-1873/ (410) 292-0038
Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Fellowship Director
Dr. Thorne is the Cross Family Professor of Ophthalmology and chief of the Division of Ocular Immmunology at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, and professor of epidemiology in the Center for Clinical Trials in the Department of Epidemiology of JHSPH. She is an expert in the medical and surgical management of patients with uveitis and other autoimmune and infectious eye diseases. She was the Deputy Director of the Coordinating Center (CC) for LSOCA and is Medical Safety Officer for the CCs of MUST. She serves on the Executive Board and Steering Committee for the Standardization of Uveitis Nomenclature (SUN) Working Group and on the Steering Committee for the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD).
Her research interests lie in clinical trials and epidemiologic studies in uveitis, ocular inflammatory diseases, and the ocular complications of AIDS. Current research projects include analyses of clinical and treatment outcomes of patients with birdshot chorioretinopathy, juvenile idiopathic arthritis-related uveitis, mucous membrane pemphigoid, and multifocal choroidopathies.
Dr. Berkenstock is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. She specializes in ocular inflammatory and infectious diseases, cataract surgery, and comprehensive ophthalmology.
Dr. Burkholder is an assistant professor of ophthalmology in the Wilmer Eye Institute’s Division of Ocular Immunology. Dr. Burkholder specializes in ocular inflammatory and infectious diseases, cataract surgery and comprehensive ophthalmology.
Current research projects include the MUST (Multicenter uveitis steroid treatment) trials,the Longitudinal Study of the Ocular Complication of AIDS, and looking at current practice patterns, clinical outcomes and complications with steroid implants for patients with non-infectious uveitis.
Dr. Khan is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Wimer Eye Institute. He specializes in ocular immunology and uveitis. This includes various eye inflammatory conditions such as scleritis, iritis, retinitis and ocular infectious diseases. In addition, he evaluates individuals with various rheumatologic conditions and systemic inflammatory disorders. Dr. Khan also specializes in cataract surgery, including cases made complicated by uveitis.
Ashvini K. Reddy, M.D., is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute. Her specialties include ocular immunology, such as uveitis and ocular inflammatory diseases, and the medical treatment of retinal diseases.
Dr. Reddy's research interests include autoimmune retinal diseases, outer retinopathies, intraocular lymphoma and infectious uveitis.
Amde Selassie Shifera, M.D., Ph.D., is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute. In addition to comprehensive ophthalmology, he specializes in ocular immunology, including uveitis, panuveitis, scleritis and ocular inflammatory and infectious diseases. His research focuses on investigating the causes of uveitis and in developing new and better means of treatment for uveitis.
His current research projects include molecular analysis of bacterial and fungal DNA in conjunctgival sarcoid granulomas. Funded by a Mallinckrodt Research Fellowship Award, the project investigates possible microbial causes of sarcoidosis by carrying out an extensive molecular search for bacterial and fungal DNA in conjunctival sarcoid granulomas.