Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Ophthalmology

OHSU Tram Sunrise

A message from the director

Dear All,

The principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are central to our culture and community at Casey Eye Institute and must be carried out with intention and focus – and I am excited to lead the department’s efforts. We have set our sights on integrating DEI into every activity and thought process in the department, from patient care to education and research.    

The Values of DEI are essential in our department because we know that a diverse community brings in diverse perspectives that provide valuable information – for example, about unmet needs, unjust policies, and what we are doing right. With diverse representation, we are much better equipped to cultivate an inclusive workplace, patient care experience, and educational setting – one in which each individual knows they belong exactly as they are and are given the tools and resources they need to thrive.  

With the support of the Casey Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion in Ophthalmology (CADIO) committee and Casey Eye Institute’s leadership team, the program has already gained significant momentum with its departmental activities. 

I look forward to continuing to work with CADIO members on our many ongoing initiatives, including departmental DEI education, recruitment guided by holistic review and bias reduction, and mentorship of individuals underrepresented in medicine. CADIO will also continue to help advance our department’s work in achieving health equity – both in patient care and in research.  I’m also very excited to continue our OHSU and national partnerships in DEI. 

Thank you,

Ambar Faridi, M.D.
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Associate Residency Program Director
OHSU Casey Eye Institute

Ambar Faridi, M.D., headshot photo

Ambar Faridi, M.D.

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology,

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

View profile


Casey Eye Institute's mission is to eliminate preventable blindness and improve quality of life through leadership in the art, science, and technology of 21st century eye care. Central to this mission is to support measures that promote and maintain a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the OHSU department of ophthalmology.    

Our commitment

We are committed to:

  1. The recruitment and retention of staff, faculty, and trainees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences.
  2. The education of all employees on DEI topics.
  3. Intentional, sustained efforts to provide equitable, diverse patient care and vision research in an inclusive work and healthcare environment.
  4. Following the guidelines set forth in the SOM DEI and Anti-Racism Strategic Action Plan and the principles outlined in the OHSU Inclusive Language Guide and Inclusive Recruitment & Retention Manual.   

CADIO Committee takes the lead

Dr. Dan Tu with ophthalmology residents at OHSU

The Casey Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion in Ophthalmology (CADIO) Committee leads the efforts to improve DEI within the department, and receives the enthusiastic support of Casey Eye Institute Leadership. The CADIO Committee is made up of staff, clinical and research faculty, and resident members from diverse backgrounds and divisions within our department.

Together, committee members meet quarterly to plan and carry out a broad range of initiatives aligned with the OHSU School of Medicine DEI & Anti-Racism Strategic Action Plan.  

CADIO Committee initiatives and programs include: 

  • Implementation of Departmental DEI Education and Training, including: 
    • Diversity & Inclusion Continuing Education Workshops for all Casey members
    • DEI Departmental Grand Rounds series 
    • Recurring DEI pieces entitled CADIO Corner in the department’s weekly newsletter Casey Commons   
    • Partnerships with Departmental Faculty Lounge for DEI discussion sessions 
    • DEI Ophthalmology Residency Didactic Curriculum 
    • OHSU Graduate Medical Education DEI Workshops for Healthcare Professionals spearheaded by CADIO members and available to OHSU employees. 
  • Recruitment of staff, trainees, and faculty with employment of holistic review and bias reduction practices.  
  • Serving as a DEI Council to Leadership. 
  • Collaboration with the OHSU Diversity Affairs Committee, the OHSU Center for Diversity & Inclusion, SOM Diversity & Inclusion, Oregon Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, among others. Examples of collaboration with the AAO include  Improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Ophthalmology, the podcast Experts InSight: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Ophthalmology in 2022, and the educational toolkit Diversity and Inclusion Education
  • Mentorship and Career Development Support for Individuals Underrepresented in Medicine, including: 
    • Faculty participation in the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Program - American Academy of Ophthalmology (aao.org).  
    • The development of research programs such as Jump Start, a research undergraduate program aimed at mentoring undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing ophthalmology research. 
    • Implementation of the CADIO Undergraduate Observership in Ophthalmology and the CADIO Medical Student Rotation in Ophthalmology programs for underrepresented in medicine students. 
    • Hosting of informational panels about ophthalmology as a career for pre-medical and medical students underrepresented in medicine. 

2023 CADIO Committee Membership

Training Programs

Two students pose standing in front of a research sign.
The Jump Start 2022 cohort Kara Sydnor and Ivan Navarro.

Join the Jump Start research program for post-baccalaureate scholars

Jump Start is designed for post-baccalaureate scholars to gain the research experience and professional skills needed for acceptance to graduate school and to thrive in a professional research career.

This program is seeking individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in research (i.e. those who identify as minorities, have a disability, are from a rural environment, identify as LGBTQ+, are low income, are houseless, or are first generation college students). No previous research or lab experience required.

The program includes a stipend and it goes for eight consecutive weeks from mid-June through mid-August. It is considered a full time position with about 40 hours per week divided between the lab (30-35 hours) and professional skills sessions (5-10 hours).

Participants will be paired with a faculty mentor from OHSU Casey Eye Institute, and will receive training on conducting research, working in a lab, scientific writing, presenting a poster, and more.

How to apply

The application deadline is March 15, 2024. The application includes your resume and a personal statement that answers the following questions:

  • Why are you interested in Jump Start? Briefly tell us about yourself.
  • Why do you think you will be a good candidate?
  • How this program will help to achieve your future goals?

View the flyer. Please email questions and application materials (resume and personal statement) to Dr. Mary Kelley.

Undergraduate Observership in Ophthalmology

This undergraduate observership is a week-long clinical shadowing experience designed to expose underrepresented students to the practice of ophthalmology and related eye care specialties. Students will also receive professional networking, collaboration and mentorship to help them pursue careers in medicine.

This program is available to undergraduate students from underrepresented minorities in medicine, and who have demonstrated an interest in the medical field as a career. Apply!

If you have questions or wish to submit an application, please contact Allie Kirby.

Diversity Visiting Medical Student Ophthalmology Rotation Scholarship

As part of our efforts to increase diversity in Oregon’s ophthalmology community, we are honored to provide scholarship support for visiting underrepresented medical students accepted into our 4-week ophthalmology elective.

The experience will include:

  • 4-week rotation in clinical ophthalmology
  • Mentorship
  • Possibility for scholarly projects in collaboration with faculty and residents
  • Stipend

The scholarship is supported by a stipend funded by the Oregon Academy of Ophthalmology and the OHSU Casey Eye Institute's DEI Program. 

Interested medical students must first apply via the VSLO® for Students & Residents. After submission of the VSLO application and acceptance to the 4-week ophthalmology elective at Casey Eye Institute, interested students traditionally underrepresented in medicine can learn more and apply.