OSLI Retina

October 2016

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980 Ophthalmic Surgery, Lasers & Imaging Retina | Healio.com/OSLIRetina Eight Questions with Darius Moshfeghi Interview with Stephen G. Schwartz, MD, MBA Darius M. Moshfeghi, MD: Who has had the greatest influence on your career? Stephen G. Schwartz, MD, MBA: Robert C. Allen, MD, recruited me to the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 2001. The department underwent substantial changes in a short amount of time. Within a year, I was the only retina specialist on staff, the residen- cy program director, and a member of the chair search committee. This could have been chaotic, but I learned a lot under Bob's mentorship, and afterwards I felt pre- pared for just about anything. Sadly, Bob died in 2005, but I still think of him often. Dr. Moshfeghi: What was the defining moment that led you to your field? Dr. Schwartz: Toward the end of my third year of medi- cal school, my future wife, Melanie, told me she thought I seemed happy during a 2-week ophthalmology elective and that maybe I ought to look into that. I had some un- scheduled time at the beginning of the fourth year and decided to try a research elective. I called many ophthal- mologists in many institutions seeking an opportunity. The first person to agree was David R. Guyer, MD, who was studying indocyanine green angiography of occult choroidal neovascularization. That was my first in-depth exposure to the retina, and I never looked back. Dr. Moshfeghi: What do you find most rewarding about being a retina specialist? Dr. Schwartz: My favorite aspect is the people. Retina attracts outstanding individuals, and I enjoy working with them. They are remarkable innovators, very pro- ductive, and generally very collegial. I think this is why the specialty advances so quickly, and why we're seeing so many new retina journals, meetings, and societies. Of course, other subspecialties attract great people as well, but to me, retina specialists are unique. Dr. Moshfeghi: What advice would you offer a student in medical school today? (Or what advice would you offer residents and fellows considering a career in academic ophthalmology or vitreoretinal surgery?) Dr. Schwartz: Don't feel pressured to choose a special- ty too quickly, even if it seems like everyone you know already has. Try to pick something that you think you will enjoy. However, I think there are two aspects to that. There's what you do in the clinic (or the OR) all day, and then there's what you go home and think about (and read about) at night. Sometimes what you enjoy doing isn't what you enjoy thinking about, and vice versa. You're re- ally looking for the "complete package," if you can find it. Dr. Moshfeghi: What advice would you offer a young faculty member, or a young retina specialist starting in practice? Dr. Schwartz: Try to be flexible, and humble. You prob- ably have thought about the career you want, but some- times the organization needs something very different from you. My experiences at VCU helped me greatly when I came to Bascom Palmer in 2004. My role at VCU was a traditional academic position, but at Bascom Palm- er I was placed at a brand new satellite facility in Naples, 130 miles from the main hospital, as the only full-time person there. It was a hybrid position, with aspects of both academics and a solo community retina practice. Questions with Dr. Moshfeghi Stephen G. Schwartz Darius M. Moshfeghi Stephen G. Schwartz, MD, MBA continues on page 979 doi: 10.3928/23258160-20161004-16

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