Dr. Efren Garcia is a man on a mission. Since assuming the chairmanship of the UERM Department of Ophthalmology early this year, Dr. Garcia has implemented a series of changes geared towards the improvement of the Department and the strengthening of its status as one of the premier training institutions in ophthalmology in the country. Together with his administrative team of youthful and able consultants consisting of Residency Training Officer Dr. Edgar Leuenberger, Executive Officer Dr. Benalexander Pedro and Finance Officer Dr. Ronnie Pimentel, Dr. Garcia has set the ball rolling for UERM Ophthalmology to reach new heights.
First on the agenda was a re-evaluation of the Department’s goals and objectives. On May 28, 2006, a planning and team-building seminar was held at the UERM Clinical Conference Room. The attendance was overwhelming, with the entire consultant staff, as well as most of the graduates of the Training Program, giving up their weekend so as to contribute their share in this important occasion. The plans of the Department for the year were presented to the staff. Ideas on how to further improve UERM Ophthalmology were discussed. A new logo was unveiled. The creation of a handbook containing the guidelines and objectives of the Department was proposed and unanimously approved. But perhaps the most important accomplishment of that day was setting the UERM Department of Ophthalmology towards one direction… combining the ideas of each member of the staff and setting these toward one goal: the training of compassionate and professional eye care providers who deliver comprehensive and exemplary service. The year was off to an excellent start.
Next on the list was an upgrade of the consultant staff. Although strong in most of the subspecialties like glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology, the Department has been deficient in other fields, particularly in pediatric ophthalmology and in orbit/oculoplastic surgery. Residents were sent to other institutions on outside rotation to receive training in these fields of discipline. To address this problem, the Department enlisted the help of a group of young consultants: Dr. Fay Charmaine Cruz, a product of the training program in adult and pediatric strabismus of the University of California-San Diego; Dr. Mark Imperial, an orbit/oculoplastic specialist from the Singapore National Eye Center; Dr. Nonettee Pasco-Rosete, a graduate of the Orbit, Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery program of the Shiley Eye Center, University of California-San Diego. According to Dr. Garcia, “The education of the residents is of utmost importance to the Department. With a complete line-up of consultants in the various fields of ophthalmology, we assure adequate training for them.” With the addition of these three specialists, an already strong consultant staff has been made even more formidable. In fact, during the last Diplomate Board Exam, UERM Ophthalmology had a 100% passing rate. Plans are currently underway to upgrade the facilities of the Department. “The UERM Administration has promised its all-out support,” the Department Chairman says. A new room to house the Department’s equipment has already been pledged. Negotiations to provide an operating room solely for ophtha cases are in the works. The Department intends to purchase a second phacoemulsification machine, as well as Argon and YAG lasers. With these acquisitions, the Department aims for its facilities to be at par with those of the best eye centers in the country.
And Dr. Efren Garcia says this is only the beginning. The best is yet to come. Alan Gerard D. Austriaco, M.D.