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Advancing the Field of Vitreoretinal Surgery by Training the Next Generation of Retina Surgeons

Physicians at Illinois Retina Associates are Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, and Lecturers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Our doctors are highly regarded educators in the field of vitreoretinal surgery and are committed to train the next generation of retina specialists. They are actively engaged in training retina fellows who are already fully trained ophthalmologists.

The Vitreoretinal Fellowship at Illinois Retina Associates is a highly sought-after training position by senior ophthalmology residents throughout the United States and Canada.  Each year, our highly-skilled physicians train two retina fellows who, after completion of their fellowship, will continue the sight-saving mission of Illinois Retina Associates in both the United States and abroad.  The goal of our retina fellowship is to provide an elite training program that will produce highly capable vitreoretinal surgeons who will make significant contributions to the field of vitreoretinal surgery in the future.

Welcome from the director:

Kourous A. Rezaei, MD
Illinois Retina Associates, in conjunction with Rush University, is very proud of its vitreoretinal fellowship program. Some of the members of our faculty are graduates of the program, which ran from 1988-1996, and then was reinstituted in 2002 and continues today.
Our goal is to expertly train the fellows in the management of retinal and vitreous diseases, including hands-on surgical experience, under the supervision of our faculty members. We encourage the fellows to participate in clinical research studies with the faculty. However, opportunities for basic science research are available as well.

In addition to training our fellows to provide superior service to our patients, our faculty members stress the importance of developing a caring relationship with our patients and a sincere appreciation for the important contributions of our staff.

About The Program

Rush University, in conjunction with Illinois Retina Associates, sponsors one fellow each year for a two-year comprehensive fellowship in the diagnosis and management of vitreoretinal diseases. The fellowship is based in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center near downtown Chicago.

The goal of the fellowship is to provide an elite training program that will produce highly capable vitreoretinal surgeons who will make significant contributions to the future of our specialty.

Fellow Responsibilities

Clinical responsibilities:

  • Must be performed with diligence, professionalism and thoroughness
  • Respect must be shown to all patients

On-Call responsibilities:

  • Will be on call every other week
  • A beeper and cellular phone will be provided

Vacations (refer to GME House Officer’s Agreement and Quick Reference Benefits Sheet)

  • 2 full weeks plus statutory holidays
  • 5 meeting days
  • Time will be allowed for job interviews towards the end of the fellowship
  • All vacations or meeting days must be approved by fellowship directors (update per manual)

Resident Involvement

Fellows will be expected to aid in the education of the residents at Rush University. Resident teaching sessions should be arranged by the retina fellow to complement the faculty teaching. Fellows are expected to maintain an open and approachable attitude with the residents in their mentoring role.

Goals Of The Fellowship

Proper training in the management of retinal and vitreous diseases mandates the necessity for hands-on surgical experience. The fellow is expected to actively participate in the surgical management of patients and not merely be an observer. It is expected that by the end of the fellowship, fellows will have the skills and confidence to perform any vitreoretinal procedure currently performed.

During each rotation of the fellowship, fellows will spend an average of 1-1/2 days a week in the O.R. This equates to an exposure of about 4-8 cases per week. The cases performed by the faculty run the full gamut of vitreoretinal surgery from fresh primary detachments to complex tertiary referrals.

Fellows will slowly progress from observing cases at the beginning of the fellowship to performing the full case by the end of the fellowship. The pace of progress will vary depending on an individual fellow’s abilities and the staff’s confidence in that fellow. All surgeries will be performed under the direct supervision of a faculty member.

Fellows will be expected to become proficient in the treatment of medical and surgical retinal diseases.

Fellowship History

The fellowship program was instituted in 1988 under the direction of Dr. Kirk Packo. It ran from 1988-1996, with one fellow graduating per year. From 1996 to 2001, the fellowship was voluntarily put on hold. It was reinstituted in 2002, and we have trained highly qualified vitreoretinal specialists who are practicing throughout the United States and Canada.

Program Graduates
1987: Dr. Preston P. Richmond, Orlando, Florida
1988: Dr. R. Mark Hatfield, Charleston, West Virginia
1989: Dr. J. Gregory Rosenthal, Toledo, Ohio
1990: Dr. David D. Agahigian, Springfield, Massachusetts
1991: Dr. Richard J. Rothman, St. Louis, Missouri
1992: Dr. Mohit Nanda, Charlottesville, Virginia
1993: Dr. John P. Rosculet, Appleton, Wisconsin
1994: Dr. Joseph M. Civantos, Chicago, Illinois
1995: Dr. David S. Dyer, Kansas City, Missouri
1996: Dr. Jack A. Cohen, Chicago, Illinois
2004: Dr. Sebastien Olivier, Montreal, Quebec
2005: Dr. Sohail Hasan, Chicago, Illinois
2006: Dr. Eugene Chang, Orange County, California
2007: Dr. ThucAnh Ho, SheboyganWisconsin
2008: Dr. Zac Ravage, Chicago, Illinois
2009: Dr. Sachin Mudvari, Raleigh, North Carolina
2010: Dr. Michael J. Davis, Los Angeles, California
2011: Dr. Vivek Chaturvedi, Chicago, Illinois
2012: Dr. Anna Gabrielian, Glendale, California
2013: Dr. Renaud Duval, Montreal, Canada
2014: Dr. Milad Haak, Phoenix, Arizona
2015: Dr. Michael McClintock, Roanoke, Virginia

 How To Apply

Prospective fellows (except for research-based fellowship/observership) will be asked to register for the match at the SFMatch website and read about the process for applying for Ophthalmology Fellowship training. Once registered, you can view our program listing on the SFMatch directory website for all required documents, including the application. Please be sure to check “View Profile” in our program listing for information on additional requirements.

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