5Q With Dilraj Grewal, MD
Please describe the experience of being a mentor as a young doctor.
It is a real privilege to be able to work with fellows, residents, and medical students. I think that when you are recently out of training yourself, it is both challenging and a lot of fun being a mentor. On one hand, you are still refining your own clinical, surgical, and research skills. On the other hand, you are trying to transition into a mentorship role by leading research projects and supervising complex surgeries. It is a huge learning experience both clinically and academically, and it is incredibly gratifying. It also teaches you a lot about soft skills, including time management and people skills.
How did you become interested in advanced ocular imaging for retinal diseases and uveitis?
I worked on ocular imaging during a pre-residency research fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, which gave me access to early generation spectral-domain OCT prototypes. That field has grown exponentially, and now OCT is considered what some have termed an ocular vital sign.
During my residency at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, I worked with leading imaging experts Lee M. Jampol, MD; Amani A. Fawzi, MD; and Debra A. Goldstein, MD. They motivated me to pursue imaging in retina and uveitis. During my vitreoretinal fellowship at Duke University and my uveitis fellowship at the Moorfields Eye Hospital, I learned from some of the world’s leaders in ocular imaging, and became involved with the Duke Reading Center, which further developed my interest in imaging.
What drew you to retina?
I found vitreoretinal surgery interesting and challenging, and the overall breadth of pathology in retina fascinating. During residency, seeing retina treatment affect a patient’s quality of life was tremendous. Working with imaging tools in the clinic and the OR for diagnosis and assessing response to treatment was the final clincher.
What would you like to accomplish in 2020?
I plan to be more organized and efficient with my time. I have research projects that I would like to see progress. I am also trying to grow the uveitis service at the recently launched Ocular Inflammatory Center at the Duke Eye Center. Personally, there are some mountain treks planned that I hope to complete.
What fictitious character do you admire?
Colin Firth’s turn as King George VI in The King’s Speech. I think it’s a great role about the power of believing in yourself and overcoming your impediments.