Eyes on Diversity: Duke Eye Center Hosts Duke SNMA Students for Ophthalmology Wet Lab Event

By Nicholas A. Johnson, M.S.

On June 14, 2022 students of the Duke Student National Medical Association (SNMA) joined faculty and trainees from Duke Eye Center to host an ophthalmology wet lab for Duke’s Black medical students.

The event was hosted by medical student Nicholas Johnson (MS4) and medical student educator Jullia Rosdahl MD PhD. Students engaged in hands-on stations including pig eye dissection, microsuturing, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) simulations. Attendees consisted of first and second year medical students interested in various surgical subspecialties. Dinner was provided after the session with the opportunity for students to ask questions and learn more about the field of ophthalmology.

SNMARoughly only 2.5% of practicing ophthalmologists in the United States are Black, and there remains a great need for increased diversity within the field. There are many national efforts aimed at increasing minority representation in ophthalmology such as the Minorities in Ophthalmology Mentoring (MOM) program sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the Rabb Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology program sponsored by the National Medical Association (NMA). While these efforts have proven successful, local outreach from university ophthalmology departments to supplement these programs are needed.

SNMA is a national organization committed to supporting underrepresented minority medical students and addressing the needs of underserved communities. The Duke SNMA chapter is proud to participate in a number of outreach events both for medical students and members of the Durham community. This wet lab event is just one example of how Duke SNMA, in partnership with Duke Eye Center, is committed to increasing diversity and equity in ophthalmology.

SNMA Attendees: Edwin Owolo (MS2), Koumani Ntowe (MS1), Christian Bailey-Burke (MS1), Amika Ekanem (MS1), Darren Schuman (MS1)