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Educating Future Leaders

After completing medical school and a residency in ophthalmology, J.P. Dunn knew his education was not yet complete. “I’d received clinical training but not academic training,” says Dr. Dunn. “I had always wanted to be in academic medicine but I didn’t understand what it entailed.”

In 1988, Dr. Dunn entered the Jules stein eye institute for a fellowship in cornea and external ocular diseases. Through the program, fellows pursue independent research while enhancing their skills in providing outpatient, inpatient and surgical care, and instructing medical school students and residents.  The Institute offers fellowships in nine specialty areas: comprehensive ophthalmology, contact lens practice, cornea and external ocular diseases and refractive surgery, glaucoma, neuroophthalmology, ophthalmic pathology, orbital and ophthalmic plastic surgery, pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, and vitreoretinal diseases and surgery.

(An international fellowship training Program provides similar opportunities for ophthalmologists from throughout the globe. since its inception, the international fellowship training Program has attracted participants from 23 nations.) Fellowship programs are an integral part of the Jules stein eye institute’s education mission. “Our three main goals of research, patient care and education are synergistic,” says Dr. Bradley R. Straatsma, the Institute’s founding director and now a professor emeritus. “This institution could not function without all three.”

For Dr. Dunn, the fellowship provided invaluable training and unprecedented opportunity. “I learned so much about so many different aspects, not just about corneal disease, but about how to deal with patients and residents; how to teach; how to write papers,” he says. “i had fantastic role models who clearly enjoyed what they did, whether it was teaching, performing surgery or seeing patients. it was my ?rst introduction to academic medicine in ophthalmology, and it was exactly what i’d hoped it would be.”

Dr. Dunn wrote his first academic paper during his fellowship, about infection associated with contact lens wear, under the guidance of Drs. Bartly J. Mondino, the current director of Jules stein, and Dr. Barry Weissman. “It was accepted with no revisions—the ?rst and possibly only time that’s happened for me,” he says. Dr. Dunn also co-authored papers with Professor of ophthalmology Dr. Gary holland on HIV-related eye disease. Thanks to a referral from Dr. holland, Dr. Dunn went from UCLA to a fellowship in uveitis and corneal disease at the Francis I. Proctor foundation at UC San Francisco. He became a clinical instructor there before moving to Johns Hopkins University and the Wilmer Eye Institute, where he now is an associate professor of ophthalmology and director of residency education. “There are so many aspects of the Jules stein fellowship that have helped me in my professional life,” says Dr. Dunn. “Where I’ve gotten in academics is due to uCLA more than to any other institution.” —Nancy Sokoler Steiner

Photo courtesy of Dr. J.P. Dunn

 





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