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Gail Albert
Executive Director, Cornea Society

Needs Assessment & Educational Design

The Cornea Society maintains a strong relationship with the AUPO and Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery Fellowship Directors. Based on feedback from members and fellowship directors, over the last several years, the Cornea Society has looked to expand its educational offerings for residents and fellows.

The Society determined it would be beneficial to develop a cornea and external disease intensive program for fellows to complement their training based on an informal survey of fellowship directors in 2012. As a result, the first Cornea Society Fellows Educational Summit was held in October 2013.

To further delineate specific gaps and educational needs, additional formal and informal surveys were conducted, and the outcomes analysis from a variety of Cornea Society and ASCRS programs geared to young physicians were analyzed.

Three key areas that would be of most value were identified within the survey:

  • training on specific procedures (corneal transplants, refractive surgery, complex cataract surgery)
  • surgical experience
  • experience within the clinic and clinical cases discussions

The challenges most often cited by responding directors were getting enough cases to be observed, especially refractive surgery, and skills training in transplantation techniques.

In order to meet the identified educational needs, the Cornea Society has developed a two-day intensive program that includes both classroom and hands-on components within the live program, as well as follow-up materials to be provided as resources to reinforce the knowledge and skills gained within the program. The program is limited in attendance to maintain a 1:5 faculty-to-fellow ratio, ensuring each fellow is able to receive more personal attention from faculty members, as well as ample opportunities for interaction and questions and answer periods.

The classroom component will utilize a combination of didactic lectures and case presentations to provide the practical instruction on surgical techniques, with a focus on providing pearls to move through the learning curve more efficiently and management of complex cases. To improve clinic skills, grand rounds cases will be presented throughout the program and will include significant interaction so that attending fellows are actively learning and develop a keener sense of faculty members' thought-processes and decision-making skills.

The hands-on component will include DMEK and DSEK surgical procedures and a MACRO Dry Lab.