Dear CAOS community,
Welcome to our new CAOS blog. I am excited to represent the Chinese American Ophthalmological Society as a newly minted member of the Young Ophthalmology Committee. A little bit about myself: I’m a third-generation ophthalmologist who is the son of two ophthalmologist parents and the younger brother of a neurologist and a family medicine doc. I grew up in Mississippi, where my father Ching Chen served as chairman of the University of Mississippi Department of Ophthalmology. He and my mother Lin also happen to be early members of CAOS. After four years filled with singing at Yale, I attempted to try out for American Idol. When that didn’t work, I immediately succumbed to my fate and became an ophthalmologist myself, performing residency at Columbia University and vitreoretinal fellowship at Bascom Palmer. After training, I returned to Columbia as faculty, where I’m currently the Helen and Martin Kimmel Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Associate Residency Program Director. Enough about my background.
In March, I travelled to Singapore to attend the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology meeting, both as an invited speaker and as representative for the AAO Young Ophthalmologist International Subcommittee. As part of the Academy’s efforts to connect with the international ophthalmology community, I co-chaired a symposium on leadership skills for young ophthalmologists. There, I met fantastic colleagues who shared their wisdom and experiences with an enthusiastic audience of both trainees and early-career physicians. (link to AAO post)
I am always inspired by the spirit of my international colleagues; at each meeting, I discover new surgical techniques and learn about country-specific practice patterns that reveal both differences and similarities in biology, access to care, political systems, and individual creativity. Through the international lens, I also gain invaluable perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of our educational training programs in the United States.
Of course, what’s also great about meetings is that they are not all about eyeballs. The laksa, prawn satay, and black pepper crab were delicious, the supertrees in the botanical garden were from another planet, and the immaculately clean subway stations were the antithesis of my pizza-rat infested stations back home in New York City! After 5 days in Singapore, I was worried that I might get too used to the cleanliness and clockwork-like functionality of the city, so I hopped on a plane that took off from the greatest airport in the world and flew back to JFK, where I was thrilled not to be detained! Home (and my two kids) is where the heart is.
We will periodically be updating this page with stories from our members and information about events at upcoming meetings. Stay tuned!