OSLI Retina

February 2017

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192 Ophthalmic Surgery, Lasers & Imaging Retina | Healio.com/OSLIRetina Questions with Darius Moshfeghi Scott Cousins, MD Eight Questions with Darius Moshfeghi Interview with Scott Cousins, MD Scott Cousins Darius M. Moshfeghi, MD: What was the defining moment that led you to your field? Scott Cousins, MD: I had completed my third year of medical school and wondered, "Is that all there is?" I was not intellectually challenged. I decided to take 2 years off to pursue research, but was relatively agnostic to what area. I was fortunate to receive a predoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, where I worked with Jim Rosenbaum on a retinal uveitis project. I fell in love with ophthalmology and retina, and the rest is history. Dr. Moshfeghi: Who has had the greatest influence on your career? Dr. Cousins: Four different leaders shaped my career. The first was Dr. David Cogan, former Chief at Mass Eye and Ear, who was at the National Eye Institute during the time I worked with him. He took me under his wing and got me into ophthalmology. Next was Dr. Bernie Becker, chair at Washington University. He accepted me into the residency program and encouraged me to pursue my dream to become a physician scientist. The final two were Dr. Ed Norton, chair at Bascom Palmer, and Dr. Wayne Streilein, Chair of the Department of Im- munology at the University of Miami. The two of them conspired to make sure I received outstanding fellow- ship training in vitreoretinal (VR) surgery as well as im- munology research in the laboratory. Dr. Moshfeghi: What do you find most rewarding about being a vitreoretinal surgeon? Dr. Cousins: We are in the midst of the most exciting time in the history of ophthalmology in terms of our ability to help patients with both medical and surgi- cal therapies. I never cease to be impressed with how far our specialty has come since I started my ophthal- mology training in the early 1980s. Diseases that were hopeless then — macular hole, wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), traction retinal detachment, etc. — are now treated with great outcomes. Dr. Moshfeghi: What advice would you offer medical students or residents considering a career in academic ophthalmology? Dr. Cousins: Find your passion and follow it wherever it leads. Passion means whichever aspect of medicine — research, teaching, surgery, medical care, etc. — that, if this activity disappeared from your life, it would leave a hole. I was fortunate to discover translational research to be my passion. Dr. Moshfeghi: Is an academic career still relevant to vitreoretinal surgery? Dr. Cousins: Yes, but the choice has become complex with the rise of stellar VR private practices. When I was training, university-based careers were absolutely nec- essary to be an investigator in phase 3 trials, to train the next generation of VR surgeons, or to achieve national leadership positions. This is no longer true. However, for those of us interested in hardcore technology inno- vation (ie, inventing intraoperative optical coherence tomography, new imaging technologies, new medica- tions; changing health care through introduction of tele-ophthalmology or other technologies; etc.), univer- sity resources are still crucial. I think the secret to be- ing happy in an academic career is having crystal-clear insight into your mid- and long-term career goals, and knowing that these goals require academic resources to be successfully achieved. continues on page 191 Darius M. Moshfeghi

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