scholarship winner - march 2017
Michael Reinsbach, MD
PGY-3 Ophthalmology resident
Nassau University Medical Center
Anyone who receives this scholarship should consider themselves very fortunate indeed. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone interested/eligible to apply without reservation. This is a unique experience offering many benefits beyond the obvious of being located in a tropical paradise, which you will have time to enjoy. Dr. Chen is an inspiration in that despite working in a private practice setting and coming to the profession from a non-traditional pathway, he has excelled in his involvement with both medical students and residents, involvement in research, and possession of a vast array of skills and proficiencies. In addition, Dr. Chen is an extremely welcoming and benevolent host that will make your visit a comfortable learning experience. My wife and son were also able to come to Hawaii, and Dr. Chen likewise welcomed them with warm hospitality.
Although this experience is only one week in length, much can be gleaned with active observation and instruction from Dr. Chen. I have learned a great deal about several topics of professional development from practice style, time management, EMR utilization, billing, clinic flow, office design, work/life balance, financial strategy, to many clinically applicable concepts and surgical techniques. For example, Dr. Chen has a small office space, but high volume practice. Instead of migrating between several exam rooms, he stays in one room and his staff are notified when to bring the next patient in. This improves Dr. Chen’s personal efficiency because he doesn’t have to move to another room, and it also saves on practice expense in that he doesn’t have to purchase equipment or space for several examination lanes. Dr. Chen does some of his own imaging and all of his own billing before the patient leaves the room. Despite this, he is efficient and sees many patients in a short time period, leaving little or no work to complete at the end of the day. Seeing how a private ophthalmologists structures these types of things are often hard to come by for a resident stuck in a resident clinic, but they can be valuable concepts prior to entering the workforce on our own.
Dr. Chen also has a unique patient population which I have not had hardly any exposure to in my residency program. Most of Dr. Chen’s patients are native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Japanese, Korean, or Chinese. Seeing how Dr. Chen communicates with so many people of different backgrounds is impressive, but the differences in clinical approach and patient anatomy was influential. Dr. Chen several times highlighted different glaucoma risk factors which are easy to overlook, and helped me make a more comprehensive assessment of overall patient risk. I learned that within different Oriental populations there is unique ophthalmologic characteristics and tendencies. Dr. Chen also taught me more about corneal hysteresis and its implications on glaucoma and IOP measurement.
During my time in the operating room with Dr. Chen I was exposed to some of the cutting edge technology within the field, which is often not present within residency programs. Dr. Chen utilizes the LenSx femtosecond platform as well as Verion and the Ora intraoperative aberrometer. It was not only good to be exposed to this technology, but Dr. Chen has also involved me in exciting research to further improve patient outcomes with this new technology. He also informed me about alternative sedation techniques for cataract surgery, which I have not given much consideration to at this point in my training. Dr. Chen has been involved in research in this area and has a unique perspective which he currently utilizes in his own practice. I also observed Dr. Chen’s technique for pterygium excision. Patients with pterygia are common in our residency program and it is possible I could integrate his technique at some point. Additionally, I was excited to observed Dr. Chen perform endocyclophotocoagulation for a glaucoma patient, which I had not been exposed to previously.
Ultimately; I had a great time with Dr. Chen. I loved Hawaii and learned a lot from this charismatic and gracious character. I would recommend this experience to everyone. It really is a one-of-a-kind experience, and you can make the most of it. I feel fortunate that I was selected and he has involved me in a practical research project. The benefits of this scholarship far exceed the single week spent with him. I have gained a lifelong mentor in research and clinical endeavors with Dr. Chen. He expressed he would welcome me back anytime, and I know I could contact him without hesitation for anything. Dr. Chen also spoke of creating an alumni group for recipients of this scholarship, which is yet another unexpected benefit.