What Makes a Good Retinal Specialist?


What Makes a Good Retinal Specialist?


My 18-year-old son Brian was sitting down trying to choose his courses as he begins his freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering. As he was selecting his classes for his planned major, bioengineering, I was struck by how many of these courses would be useful to me now as a retina specialist in 2007.

As undergraduates, most of us were expected to have a foundation in general and organic chemistry and basic physics, as well as biology and mathematics. Beyond that, there was really no guidance as far as what classes would be worth-while to take in preparation for a career in medicine, and in fact, students were often encouraged to take classes outside the sciences to provide a broad background as they advanced through the educational system. I presume the thought was that whatever other scientific training was needed for a professional career would be provided during the 4 years of medical school. However, given the expanding complexity of medicine, this is now an all but impossible task to accomplish.

If we just take a look at this issue of Retinal Physician, I think you will see what I mean. In the peer-reviewed article on drug delivery to the posterior segment, it is obvious that not only do we need to understand the pharmacology and molecular activity of each of the various compounds that are being explored for therapeutic intervention for posterior-segment disease, but it has now become critical that we also understand the chemistry and physics of the various devices and systems that will be employed to deliver these agents. Therefore, we not only need to have excellent training in medicine, but also a firm foundation in biochemistry, biomechanics, pharmacology, and soon nano-technology, as drug development and delivery moves forward. This is necessary in order to continue to be "educated consumers" in the retinal field, as well as advocates for our patients.


Obviously, it is impossible to teach all of this new material to students now within our current educational program, even in the combined premedical and medical years of training. While the days of formal schooling have passed for those of us already in practice, it is incumbent upon all of us to obtain the appropriate education and knowledge needed to make intelligent and informed decisions.

I would, therefore, encourage all of the readers of Retinal Physician to take every opportunity available to them to gain this needed basic science knowledge through whatever means possible. Attendance at specialty conferences, continuing medical education (CME) courses and seminars available through local universities and through our academic institutions, and even online CME courses, should provide means by which we can gain the information necessary to continue to deliver the best possible care to our patients.

Editorial Advisory and Review Board
Jason S. Slakter, MD . Editor-in-Chief

New York, NY .
(212) 861-9797

Lloyd P. Aiello, MD, PhD, Boston, MA
Fareed Ali, MD, FRCS(C)
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Riva Lee Asbell, Philadelphia, PA
Abdhish R. Bhavsar, MD, Minneapolis, MN
Stanley Chang, MD, New York, NY
Emily Y. Chew, MD, Bethesda, MD
Kevin Corcoran, COE, CPC, FNAO
San Bernardino, CA
Donald J. D'Amico, MD, New York, NY
Dean Eliott, MD, Los Angeles, CA
Sharon Fekrat, MD, Durham, NC
Frederick L. Ferris, MD, Bethesda, MD
Donald C. Fletcher, MD, San Francisco, CA
Morton F. Goldberg, MD, FACS, Baltimore, MD
Julia A. Haller, MD, Baltimore, MD
Allen C. Ho, MD, Philadelphia, PA
Lee M. Jampol, MD, Chicago, IL
Mark W. Johnson, MD, Ann Arbor, MI
Eddie F. Kadrmas, MD, PhD, Plymouth, MA
Peter K. Kaiser, MD, Cleveland, OH
Martin A. Mainster, PhD, MD, FRCOphth
Kansas City, KS
William F. Mieler, MD, Chicago, IL
Joan W. Miller, MD, Boston, MA
Dennis A. Orlock, CRA, New York, NY
Kirk H. Packo, MD, Chicago, IL
Carmen A. Puliafito, MD, MBA, Miami, FL
Carl D. Regillo, MD, FACS, Philadelphia, PA
Richard Rosen, MD, New York, NY
Philip J. Rosenfeld, MD, PhD, Miami, FL
Reginald J. Sanders, MD, Washington, DC
Steven D. Schwartz, MD, Los Angeles, CA
Ingrid U. Scott, MD, MPH, Hershey, PA
Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM, Boston, MA
Stephen C. Sheppard, Springfield, MO
Jerry A. Shields, MD, Philadelphia, PA
Lawrence J. Singerman, MD, Cleveland, OH
Richard F. Spaide, MD, New York, NY
Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, Nashville, TN
Michael T. Trese, MD, Royal Oak, MI
George A. Williams, MD, Royal Oak, MI
Lawrence A. Yannuzzi, MD, New York, NY