Scholarship Experience – BCC Training Program:
Fabiola Jerez Carvajal

10 September 2020

Pan-American Scholarship Experience

Report by Fabiola Jerez Carvajal (Honduras)


My name is Dra. Fabiola Jerez. I am from Honduras, a country located in Central America where there is only one ophthalmology program for the whole country, and as you can imagine, overall, we have few ophthalmologists. I received a training scholarship from the BCC Training Program of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) and the Pan-American Ophthalmological Foundation (PAOF). This program provides scholarships to young ophthalmologists from Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador for advanced training.

I am very grateful for this opportunity that was given to me, through the Pan-American, to participate in this observership program and to shadow incredible human beings that are extremely talented surgically, intellectually, and with very kind hearts at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI) in the pediatric and strabismus clinic. It was truly an enhancing experience. As you enter the BPEI doors, people greet you with a smile; everybody is ready to help patients, visitors and/or their own staff.

The pediatric and strabismus clinic has a wonderful staff. It is a very busy place. I learned organization and respect from the pod coordinator, patience and kindness from the technicians who amazed me with their abilities and speed in testing children’s visual acuity and sensitivity. I tried to learn as much as I could from Dr. Hilda Capó, Dr. Craig Mckeown, and Dr. Kara Cavuoto who are incredible at what they do. They are constantly reading and publishing new articles and coming up with new studies. Their thirst of knowledge and their understanding of strabismus is inspiring and contagious.

It was surprising to see how frequent adult strabismus is. I saw things and techniques that I had only seen in books and videos. I observed cases that I had never heard of. They taught me not only about strabismus but also how to deal with difficult situations with empathy so the patient and their family do not lose hope and can find the strength within themselves to adapt to a new lifestyle. It was an honor and a true blessing to meet them.

I also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ta Chen Chang and Dr. Nina Berrocal, always with a smile on their faces and excited about new projects and outcomes. They were always happy to teach and share. It is very interesting to see and learn how things in first world countries work. The latest technology is always at hand at BPEI and so is teamwork. Opportunities like this enhance our knowledge and make us want to be better, treat patients better, make our countries better. I describe the time I spent at Bascom Palmer as ophthalmological Utopia.

Thank you!


Fabiola Jerez Carvajal, MD Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Dr. Craig Mckeown, Esther (surgical nurse), Dr. Fabiola Jerez

Clementina (optometry technician), Dr. Fabiola Jerez, Dr. Craig Mckeown, Dr. Mehdi Tavakoli, Mirna (optometry technician)

Dr. Fabiola Jerez, Dr. Mehdi Tavakoli, Dr. Hilda Capó