Our Mission Comes to Life

The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences’ (DOVS) International Ophthalmology Initiatives (IOI) program, co – chaired by Doctors Yasmin Bradfield and Cat Burkat, is flourishing.

IOI continues its strong relationships with Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in Delhi, India and the University of São Paolo (USP), Brazil. IOI recently fostered new partnerships with three clinical sites in the Philippines – a nod to Dr. Guillermo “Gil” DeVenecia, retired faculty, and his lifelong commitment to saving sight in the country.

Building on the positive experience with the first clinical research resident from USP, Aline Martin, MD, the department welcomed another resident from USP, Thaisa Barbosa, MD, in the fall of 2018. Dr. Martin contributed to a research study on anti-VEGF therapy and the disorganization of retinal inner layers with Dr. Mihai Mititelu. She particularly enjoyed the diverse nature of her experiences here, the focus of her DOVS research topics, and the rigorous structure and high-caliber educational emphasis of our residency program. Dr. Barbosa is working with Dr. Bradfield on a research study titled, “Fat Adherence and Outcomes after Strabismus Surgery”. Financial support for these USP residents’ visits was provided by a three-year grant from Combat Blindness International, founded by Professor Emeritus, Dr. Suresh Chandra.

Drs. Bradfield, Burkat and Terri Young were invited to speak at the 2018 Brazilian Congress as part of the USP exchange, and planning is underway for a post-fellowship visitor in 2020 to research ocular genetics at DOVS.

DOVS senior residents traveled to Shroff’s in February 2018, accompanied by Judy Chen, MD, assistant professor of neuro-ophthalmology, and Jeremy Van Buren, MD, a former department resident who practices in Phoenix, Arizona. This is the first time a non-faculty member has traveled with our residents to Shroff’s as an attendee.

“One of the goals for our international program is to engage alumni in our mission,” according to Dr. Bradfield. “We hope Dr. Van Buren’s participation will encourage other alumni to join us as global leaders in saving sight.”

The IOI signed a unique three-way memorandum of understanding with Cardinal Santos Medical Center; Tzu Chi Eye Center; and the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, in Manila, Philippines. In the fall of 2017, the clinics are organized to provide visiting residents a varied, meaningful clinical experience.


Dr. Braden Burckhard, PGY-3 resident, was the first DOVS resident to participate in this unique experience. He worked clinically at all three venues and traveled to Tacloban City, Philippines to provide much-needed eye care in this underserved location.