2019 Gillingham Pan-American Fellowship Experience:
Dr. Alvaro Mejia Vergara

20 November 2020

Fellowship training has been one of the best experiences in my academic career. I spent one year in training with six of the most prestigious neuro-ophthalmologists in America. The program consisted of clinical, surgical, and research training in two eye institutes in southern California, under the umbrella of the University of California, Los Angeles. Having several instructors and different practice locations allowed me to develop complementary tools, both diagnostic and clinical, as well as administrative and professional.

The environment in the clinics was exciting and challenging. Both the simple and no so simple cases were viewed and managed with the maximum level of science I have experienced in my career. This in return drove me to emulate that incredible work ethic. In more complex cases, we held multi-disciplinary meetings with neurology, neuro-surgery, rheumatology, and other specialties and sub-specialties and those were the most fun, academic meetings I have ever attended.

Doing research within the program was encouraged, and having the input of several Ph.D. instructors, gave me a better understanding of the scientific method, the clinical research approach, and the confidence to write my ideas and findings. Thanks to the Gillingham Fellowship I was able to present two posters at the North American Neuro-ophthalmology Society Annual Meeting in March 2020 and publish my research projects.

Another aspect of the fellowship was the cultural exchange. Los Angeles is a big, diverse city, in which people from all over the US and the world live. Many of the other fellows were from outside the US, including my co-fellow Nicolas, who was from Chile. Having that many different cultures in the clinics and living in a city with such abundant life, only improved the experience further.

I feel grateful to be able to come back to Colombia to teach everything that I’ve learned over the past year and to help patients in an underdeveloped sub-specialty in our Country. I would like to thank the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology, the Pan-American Foundation and the Retina Research Foundation for this incredible opportunity.

Alvaro Mejia-Vergara, MD

Dr. Alvaro Mejia Vergara

Dr. Alvaro Mejia Vergara

Dr Stacey Pineles, MD and Dr. Alvaro Mejia Vergara MD at her clinic.

Dr. Alvaro Mejia Vergara and Prem Subramanian MD PhD at the AAO meeting 2019

NANOS meeting 2020

Dr. Sandun and Dr. Alvaro Mejia Vergara

Dr Alfredo Sadun’s birthday.