The NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center Ophthalmology Residency Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem
The NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center Ophthalmology residency program mentors and trains the future leaders of ophthalmology through unparalleled clinical, surgical, research, and leadership education. At the core of the program is the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute, where outstanding clinicians and scientists strive to make profound contributions to the field of ophthalmology for decades to come.
In 2017, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center developed a new teaching site for its Department of Ophthalmology residency program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem (also known as Harlem Hospital), a 272-bed acute care facility and designated Level II Trauma Center that provides over 90 specialized ambulatory care services and a full spectrum of specialty services.
“Our residency program trains 12 residents a year (PGY2-4),” explains Royce W. S. Chen, MD, Helen and Martin Kimmel Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Residency Program Director at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “These 12 residents rotate through clinics at Columbia for 9 months and at Harlem Hospital for 3 months each year. The residents perform rotations in the ambulatory clinic at Columbia as well as rotations with specific faculty in our practice, covering the full range of subspecialties including cornea, retina, neuro-ophthalmology, pediatrics, strabismus, oculoplastics, and ocular oncology. Between our sites at Columbia and Harlem Hospital, our residents perform approximately 30,000 outpatient clinic visits.”
The collaboration with NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem significantly broadens the resident’s experience with exposure to a different hospital system and a wide variety of patients and ocular disease. Because many of these patients have had less access to healthcare, the residents are also exposed to a more severe spectrum of disease.
“The more varied experiences handled during residency, the more competent a physician will become when practicing independently,” says Dr. Chen. “A Level II Trauma Center such as Harlem Hospital contributes to a wider diversity of eye pathologies that residents help to treat. Here, our residents see patients with more severe eye injuries, and they learn to manage these patients.”
“Many of these patients are seeing an Ophthalmologist for the first time,” continues Dr. Chen. “This provides residents with unique experiences in terms of communicating with patients, diagnosing conditions, and helping patients navigate their treatment. Working with a diverse patient population that ranges from wealthy to underserved exposes residents to a wider spectrum of the population and forces them to become better, more empathetic communicators to people from many different backgrounds. This exposure makes them better physicians.”
“I have always been passionate about population level health,” says Rabia Karani, MD, MPH, second-year resident in Ophthalmology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “My experience at Harlem Hospital has been invaluable in teaching me how to take care of the whole patient. These patients often have many health problems that are not being addressed, so it is an opportunity to step back and make sure that you are helping these patients attain the care they need. These patients are truly some of the kindest and warmest patients I have worked with. They really want to better their eyes, and are so happy that we can help them.”
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