UNC has a unique opportunity for each resident to pursue a 2-week international elective during the PGY-3 year. The Office of Global Health and the Lions Club provide funding for the trip. You may choose to join a trip planned by one of our faculty members or tread your path anywhere in the world.

 

Our residents have gone to the following locations with UNC faculty members:

Jan Niklas Ulrich, China

Kenneth Cohen, Vietnam

Donald Budenz, Ghana

 

Our residents have created their own elective opportunities:

Bryan Strelow, Glaucoma in Thailand

Karishma Habbu, Uveitis at the Aravind Eye Center in India

Oleg Alekseev, Retinal Genetic Disease in Belgium

Ryan O’Melia, General Ophthalmology in Rural Peru

Sailu Bondalapati, General Ophthalmology in India

 

About their experience:

 

“Having the opportunity to remove myself from American culture and the US healthcare system provided not only unique perspectives on the practice of ophthalmology internationally, but enriched my own personal sense of living as a global citizen, and provided a humbling cross-cultural exchange that allowed me to feel grateful for my experiences and motivated to give-back to the international community.”

– Bryan Strelow, PGY-4, Trip to Thailand

My international rotation was career defining – I traveled to South India to work with a world renowned expert in infectious uveitis. My experience there solidified my decision to pursue a career in uveitis and gave me both lifelong mentors and friends.

– Karishma Habbu, PGY-4, Trip to India

 

“It’s really great for residents to see healthcare delivered in a setting with reduced resources. We take so much for granted in the American healthcare environment but most of the world practices with much less. I think the main benefit of the rotation, though, is to provide future ophthalmologists with a vision of what they can do by volunteering for similar trips when they finish their training.”

– Donald Budenz, Glaucoma Specialist and Chairman, Trip to Ghana

 

“Traveling to Ghana in 2018 really shaped my perception of the field of ophthalmology on a global scale. While in Ghana, I was privileged to speak at a meeting of OSG, Ophthalmological Society of Ghana, regarding ophthalmology resident education in the United States. I was able to interact with Ghanaian residents and discuss strengths and weaknesses of residency education in each country. Working in the Tema Christian Eye Center clinic for a week also taught me the importance of expertise in observational clinical diagnosis and surgical eye care. In Ghana, there are only 90 practicing ophthalmologists serving a country of 26 million people. The importance of giving back to patients in need, domestic or abroad, will now be a focal point of my career in ophthalmology.”
-Lauren Rushing, Class of 2019, Trip to Ghana