Our goal is to eliminate preventable blindness
If we are to improve vision and eye health around the world, sustained and high impact international partnerships must play a central role. As health care experts exchange knowledge and skills around the globe, doctors, nurses and other critical staff improve their ability to preserve and restore sight for the people in their country.
The Casey Eye Institute is doing just that – providing educational opportunities for highly motivated and talented eye doctors and other eye care team members in Southeast Asia countries such as Thailand and Myanmar. The value of these doctors’ knowledge in caring for their patients means that the long term impact of a strong educational exchange relationship will be enormous and help to save sight across the globe.
Across the globe, over two billion people are now blind or visually impaired1, a largely avoidable loss for modern society. As a member of the World Health Organization’s Vision 2020 initiative, we work with many other leading to increase the quantity and quality of eye care in lower income countries.
The most common treatable eye conditions around the world include cataract, corneal scarring, diabetes, glaucoma and refractive error. The OHSU Casey Eye Institute has the expertise and is making a difference in these areas and other important eye diseases including river blindness, retinopathy of prematurity and more. In addition to the contributions of our faculty, we hope to inspire our students here at OHSU to pursue careers that embrace public service.
1 World report on vision. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019.
Casey Eye Institute’s International Ophthalmology Program, within OHSU Global’s partnerships in Southeast Asia, and in collaboration with our international partners including the Vejdusit Foundation, have several ophthalmology initiatives focused on fellowships, training, research and improving eye care delivery.
Program in Southeast Asia and American Samoa
Public Health Ophthalmology Summit
The International Ophthalmology Program hosts a biennial Public Health Ophthalmology Summit, co-chaired by Dr. Beth Edmunds and Dr. Pete Campbell. The Public Health Ophthalmology Summit brings together ophthalmologists, scholars, program leaders, advocates and others in the field to share their experiences, present evidence and discuss key aspects of ophthalmology in the public health setting. Speakers and participants include world leaders in the field, our partners from Myanmar and Thailand, and national and local community teams that have participated in ophthalmic programs in diverse settings.
International Ophthalmology Administrative Team
Mitchell V. Brinks, M.D., M.P.H. – International Ophthalmology Co-Director. Dr. Brinks directs the Casey Eye Institute major international collaborations with six hospital and eye care systems in SE Asia. Casey Eye Institute partners in the region include large academic, private and public medical systems in Thailand and Myanmar. Our collaborations’ educational, research, and service programs adhere to the highest standards in equity while pursuing advanced strategies in eye care development. Another strong partnership is based in the South Pacific island territory of American Samoa, where Casey Eye Institute graduate Dr. Ben Siatu'u leads eye care at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center.
Kevin Winthrop M.D., M.P.H. – International Ophthalmology Co-Director. Dr. Winthrop is a former public health official from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is a specialist in public health care delivery, tropical and infectious diseases, and epidemiological research. He has worked closely with CDC, the Carter Center, and other agencies within the River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) elimination campaign in Latin America. He has created the Vision 2020 Latin American fellowship at the Casey Eye Institute and works closely with Latin American Vision 2020 program's training and research consortium. He also oversees the international observerships sponsored by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and Seva Foundation. At the Casey Eye Institute, he provides clinical and epidemiologic expertise with ocular tuberculosis, syphilis, and other ocular infectious diseases, and teaches in OHSU's Public Health graduate program.
Erin Hernandez, M.P.H. - Erin coordinates the observerships sponsored by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and Seva Foundation.
Tosha Zaback, M.P.H. – Ms. Zaback oversees the day-to-day operations of the Myanmar and Thailand collaborations and provides evaluation support to special projects.
Shannon Sullivan, B.F.A. – Shannon coordinates fellowships, faculty visits, and other logistical support for collaborations in Myanmar and Thailand.
Pete Prasarttongosoth – Mr. Prasarttongosoth is our Bangkok Branch Manager for SE Global.
We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals to the success of our programs.
International ophthalmology fellowships
The International Ophthalmology fellowship program brings foreign ophthalmologists to the Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon, where they receive specific medical and surgical training, allowing them to extend both basic and specialized eye care to their underserved populations upon their return. The curriculum is also designed to give fellows specific skills in epidemiology, public health, research or other aspects of ophthalmology that allow for their participation within their own national Vision 2020 campaigns to eliminate and prevent blindness in their home nations. Meet our featured fellows.
Service rotation for residents
The International Ophthalmology Program also allows OHSU’s ophthalmology residents (trainee surgeons) to travel internationally for a 2 week-long learning experience supervised by Casey Eye Institute faculty and proposed by the resident. Examples of recent resident service rotations include performing needs assessment for a residency training program in Myanmar; assisting in cataract teaching course in South Africa; assisting in wet lab course in Angola; assisting in cataract surgical interventions in Samoa, and training nurse aids in Myanmar pediatric screening and diagnostic testing techniques. Learn more about OHSU’s ophthalmology residency program.