The clinical fellowship in Neuro-Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School is a one-year program devoted solely to gaining clinical experience. This fellowship offers two slots annually, with instruction primarily at Mass. Eye and Ear, but also at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). The Neuro-Ophthalmology fellowship is certified by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology Fellowship Compliance Committee (AUPO FCC), which is committed to upholding the highest training standards in the field of ophthalmology.
All applicants must be eligible for a full medical license per the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine. International medical graduates must also be eligible for an H1B visa (eligibility includes passing all 3 steps of the USMLE test, and reporting results to MEEI prior to the Match deadline). The requirements of full licensure can be viewed on the mass.gov website.
The Neuro-Ophthalmology Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear is one of the busiest in the world. In 2011, 4,723 patients were evaluated. Sixty-six strabismus surgeries were performed on adult patients as a result of evaluations in our clinic.
Fellows work closely with leading faculty in the field, including:
- Dean Cestari, MD – Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Neuro-Ophthalmology Service Director and Fellowship Director
- Sashank Prasad, MD – Associate Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship, Assistant Professor of Neurology
- Rebecca Stacy, MD, PhD – Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
- Neal Snebold, MD – Clinical Assistant in Ophthalmology (Based at Brigham and Women's Hospital)
- Don Bienfang, MD – Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Fellows are responsible for playing a significant role in the assessment, examination, and management of patients referred to our Service. Fellows also are expected to read relevant literature, and to present 1-2 cases per week to the faculty at the Neuro-Ophthalmology conference to allow an open discussion about the “management” of cases that have proven difficult. Clinical fellows will perform clinical research as part of their experience. Academic/elective time amounts to one ½ day each week for the duration of the fellowship. Core activities such as attendance at Grand Rounds, organization and attendance at the weekly “unknown” neuro-ophthalmology case conference, and overall professional development also are expected.
The Neuro-Ophthalmology fellows also play a significant role in the oversight and education of residents and medical students who rotate through our service. This oversight includes assistance in the management of cases and providing education on the case material that is seen. The clinical fellow also has responsibility for assisting in the oversight of administrative matters within the office, especially to ensure an efficient and timely flow of patients. The fellows also have responsibility in the oversight of our “Consult” service, which provides evaluations for all types of Ophthalmic or Neuro-Visual problems of patients who are referred from Massachusetts General Hospital.
There is an annual requirement of all Mass. Eye and Ear fellows to co-author at least one manuscript with a mentor that is suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Participation in the annual Fellows Course is a requirement and provides one opportunity for fellows to create a manuscript around a pre-determined theme and publish collectively.
Fellow responsibilities also include night and weekend work related to evaluating urgent medical problems throughout the academic year. “On-call” responsibilities would be equally divided among the 2 fellows. (The number of fellows may vary from 1-3, so the amount of call that will be required cannot be stated with certainty. If there is only 1 fellow the faculty will assume some of the call that would have been performed by the second fellow. In such a case, the fellow would receive 4 additional weekends over and above their vacation allowance throughout the year free of responsibilities).
For Ophthalmology-trained fellows, a ½ day per week for six months must be spent in the MEEI emergency room, and another ½ day per week for six months must be in the Comprehensive Ophthalmology service.
Fellow Funding and Benefits
Standard medical, health and life insurance benefits afforded to MEEI employees are extended to our fellows. The salary for clinical fellows is $52,000 per annum. Two weeks of vacation time and one personal day are allowed, with the stipulation that 30 days advance notice is given. Attendance at the NANOS meeting is required and our fellows receive additional travel time (up to 5 days) and reimbursement (up to $1800) to attend this meeting. Participation in the Lancaster Course in Waterville Maine for 4 days of neuro-ophthalmic lectures to be delivered primarily by HMS faculty also is expected (this is exclusive of vacation time); travel, lodging and food will be provided to fellows for this course. If you are required to travel for interviews for future employment or for education purposes, this additional travel would be taken from the allotted vacation time.
Fellows are allowed to perform a maximum of one, eight hour “moonlighting” stint per month in the Emergency Room of MEEI, if ophthalmology-trained. No other moonlighting is permitted.
Updated: April 24, 2014