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2013 APACRS Certified Educator Award Goes to a Filipino Ophthalmologist

By Peter Paul "Pipo" Ronque, MD

I was in Singapore last July 2013 to attend the Asia Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (APACRS) meeting. The scientific convention has been aptly themed "Pearls from the Orient," as experts from the Asia-Pacific region and across the globe shared their expertise in the field of cataract and refractive surgery. I was somewhat star-struck, because I was literally in the presence of the big names in this rapidly advancing subspecialty. It has been pleasantly surprising to realize that most of these top-notch world-renowned ophthalmologists, when spoken to, are very accommodating and quite agreeable. What gives me extra pride is the fact that among these giants in ophthalmology is one of our own, a kababayan.

Many people recognize that transfer of skills and knowledge is more vital with the continuing advancement of quality eye care, especially in the fields of cataract and refractive surgery. It was in this regard that the APACRS Certified Educator (A.C.E.) program was started in 2002 to "help ophthalmic surgeons in the region keep pace with developments by motivating them to play a more active role in disseminating the latest advances and techniques to their colleagues."

For this year, the prestigious A.C.E. Award was given to a fellow Filipino ophthalmologist, Dr. Robert Edward "Bobby" Ang, for his invaluable contribution to ophthalmic development in the Asia-Pacific region. The APACRS President, Dr. Graham Barrett, and Dr. John Chang presented the award last July 12, 2013 at the Suntec Convention Center in Singapore.

Congratulations, Dr. Bobby! You join the ranks of fellow Filipino Eye MDs who have also received this award, namely: Dr. Cesar Espiritu in 2007 and Prof. Antonio Say in 2008.

Doc Bobby is Asian Eye Institute (AEI)'s senior refractive surgeon. He is also the Section Head of Refractive Surgery in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC). He finished his medical degree and residency in Ophthalmology at the University of the Philippines -- Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH). He went on to complete two fellowship programs: Glaucoma in 1999, Cornea and Refractive Surgery in 2001 at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He has co-authored numerous books and publications and has been awarded Best Paper for four of them. Doc Bobby was also presented the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Achievement Award last January 2013 in Hyderabad, India.

As I witness with pride Dr. Bobby receiving his award, I couldn't help but notice how equally proud his fellow was too. She was also in Singapore for the meeting, supporting her mentor with his various presentations. To give us an idea how Dr. Bobby has made a positive impression on his fellows, let me share with you the following brief but heartfelt testimonial from his most recent pupil...

A Former Pupil Salutes Her Mentor

Indeed, beyond residency training, many among us pursue further sub-specialization. It is during fellowship that one can learn in much greater detail and with much better focus, the nuances of the different subspecialties of ophthalmology. Moreover, the presence of subspecialists in any clinical setting allows for better quality care for patients needing specialized management for certain conditions. It has been observed that residents benefit from being exposed to the widest area of ophthalmic learning, necessitating the need for subspecialists within the faculty of any good residency-training program.

I am looking forward to seeing more Filipino Eye MDs receiving recognition for the exemplary passion and excellence in what they do in assuring the transfer of ophthalmic knowledge and skills to all pupils of our specialty.

"We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours." – John of Salisbury, theologian

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