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On Saturday, June 15th, UNC Department of Ophthalmology hosted its yearly two-event tradition, showcasing scholarly excellence at the 2024 UNC Eye Research Day and celebrating graduating residents and fellows at the Department’s end-of-year banquet.

At UNC Eye Research Day, the Department’s twelve 2023-2024 residents presented faculty-mentored projects focused on population health, quality assurance and quality improvement, therapeutic outcomes, and healthcare disparities, among other topics. Evaluating resident projects representing varying backgrounds in ophthalmic practice and research, the 2024 UNC Research Day panel of moderators included: Keirnan Willett, MD (Retina & Vitreo-Retinal Surgery), Daniel Rubinstein, MD (Oculoplastic & Facial Reconstructive Surgery), and Jean-Claude Mwanza, MD, PhD (Glaucoma Diagnostic and Epidemiology Research). For his project entitled, “Utilizing End Lens Position to Optimize A-constant for IOL Power Calculations,” second-year resident Patrick Le, MD, received the 2024 Frederick Stocker Research Award (Resident Research Award). Following annual tradition, Research Day additionally featured a visiting guest speaker — University of CA – San Francisco (UCSF) Division Chief of Comprehensive Ophthalmology and cataracts expert Saras Ramanathan, MD, who delivered the S. Dace McPherson lecture.

Held at UNC’s Rizzo Center, the Department’s annual graduation banquet celebrated the achievements of four senior (PGY4) resident graduates moving onto subspecialty training and independent practice – Khalid Aldaas, MD, Rebecca Li, MD, Ryan Machiele, DO and Vikram Ponnusamy, MD. Graduating 2023-2024 Glaucoma Fellow Alexis Pascoe, MD, was additionally honored. The dinner also honored the life and legacy of Davis Uzo Anugo, MD, a beloved member of the graduating Class of 2024, by inaugurating a namesake graduation award in his memory.

Following annual tradition, several resident honors were  awarded recognizing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and medical and surgical skills:

Ryan Machiele, DO: Surgical Excellence Award
Rebecca Li, MD: Resident Teaching Award
Khalid Aldaas, MD: Clinical Excellence Award
Patrick Le, MD: Frederick Stocker Research Award (Resident Research Award)
Khalid Aldaas, MD: Academic Achievement Award
Vikram Ponnusamy, MD: Davis Uzo Anugo Resident of the Year Award

Every year, a teaching faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional clinical mentoring is also honored by UNC Ophthalmology residents. At this year’s graduation banquet, senior residents presented David Fleischman, MD, with the 2024 Faculty Teaching Award.

Dr. Zhang noted: “We wish the Class of 2024 well as each of them moves onto fellowship and independent practice. These graduates have become a strong group of clinicians and surgeons.”