UNC Eye MD Featured in Article Celebrating 40 Years of North Carolina AHEC

Seema Garg, MD, PhD spotlighted on UNC Chapel Hill main website as she talks about why AHEC is important to UNC and to the state.

UNC Eye MD Featured in Article Celebrating 40 Years of North Carolina AHEC click to enlarge Seema Garg, MD, PhD

UNC Eye faculty member Seema Garg, MD, PhD recently spoke about the importance of the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program in a feature on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill main website.

Dr. Garg is a retina specialist who has been flying via AHEC’s Medical Air Operations to a retina clinic in New Bern for the past eight years. She is also pioneering a statewide telemedicine program for diabetic retinopathy evaluation by working with the Mountain, Eastern, Southern Regional and Greensboro AHEC primary care residency programs.

Here are a few highlights of Dr. Garg's conversation:

Why do you do what you do through AHEC?

Garg: AHEC helps me reach the UNC Department of Ophthalmology’s retinal clinic in New Bern, N.C., via AHEC’s Medical Air Operations. In addition, the infrastructure of the AHEC sites across the state facilitates our medical services to patients we wouldn’t normally be able to help, for instance, through telemedicine.

How have you influenced people through AHEC and what influence do you hope to have in the future?

Garg: Diabetes-related retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in North Carolina, and this promising new collaboration we’re working on with AHEC will greatly benefit patients who may have poor access to sub-specialty eye care geographically and financially.

The North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program, based at Carolina, sends out hundreds of faculty members to towns across the state to teach, to care for patients and to look for ways to improve how each center serves the local community. Nine regional centers serve all 100 counties in North Carolina.