Diary: Trujillo, Peru, by Barrett Katz, MD

The Instituto Regional de Oftalmologia
Trujillo, Peru
April 4-9, 2009

by Barrett Katz, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

I traveled by way of Miami, and spent the night in Lima, as there seems no easy way to get from the continental US to Trujillo in the same day.  There is a non-stop from Newark Airport to Lima, so a night stay in Lima makes travel acceptable, and avoids the problems Steve Archer faced.

Accommodations were arranged for me by the IRO, and I was met at the airport in Trujillo and transported to my hotel.

Welcoming occurred on the Sunday of my arrival; work began early Monday morning.  We chose and designed my visit to entail Monday –Wednesday, May 6-8 at the Institute.

Each morning we began with a lecture to the residents, students, and assembled faculty.  These sessions ran from 7:30 – 8:30.  I was most impressed with both the size of the audience – probably around 45-50 people - and their engagement, knowledge, questions and active participation.

After morning lecture and questions and answers, we would then adjourn to their clinic and see patients.  The patient population that was brought in to see me, for teaching and consultation, was wonderfully assembled.  The cases covered the full gamut of neuro-ophthalmic disease, and afforded a unique and invaluable venue for teaching and learning.  The cases chosen demonstrated an impressive understanding and sophistication of neuro-ophthalmology, and allowed me to use the cases for instruction on many levels to all who shared in clinic time with us – students, residents, and faculty.  Each of our three days was structured thusly. 

On the middle day, Tuesday, we also had an evening session where both Ophthalmologists and Neurologists were invited to an evening lecture.  Again, the attendance was surprisingly strong, and participation active.  At this evening local meeting, there was simultaneous translation of my lecture directly into Spanish – not by me, gratefully.  It worked well, and made for especially good dialogue in Q&A.

My review of the experience was that it was the ideal venue and site for such a visit; the organization, sophistication, participation and patient population were perfectly managed and assembled.  The warmth of the people, the faculty, the residents and the patients made it a wonderful experience for me, and I believe a very valuable few days for the participants.  Each case seen afforded ample time for demonstration and discussion, and I could focus my teaching points on all levels of expertise, sequentially.  I was also able to go to minor OR facilities and demonstrate injection techniques for hemi facial spasm.

Summarily, I found the facilities, local doctors, participating faculty, residents and students some of the most interested, engaged and grateful group of any I have had the pleasure of working with.  I highly recommend this institute as a site for WEM visits, and was touched and overwhelmed by the warmth and friendship with which I was greeted.  It was a visit that I will not forget, and was rewarded enormously for my time.  The feedback that I received from my lectures and consultations was positive and I think it was a valuable experience for those who shared our time together. 

In sum, it was a successful visit from all sides, and one I would be glad to repeat. 

Patrick Commiskey