The Paths to Success
I believe in using our voices and the circle of influence to empower others, both men and women, to create positive changes. What better way to do this than to work with other exceptional physicians, learn and share their wisdom on issues facing retina specialists—especially women—and help guide others to success? In addition, 2020 is especially meaningful for women because it marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. Therefore, I was honored to accept the invitation from Retina Today’s Chief Medical Editor Allen C. Ho, MD, and Associate Medical Editor Robert L. Avery, MD, to serve as Guest Editor for the “Women in Retina” issue.
Never short of ideas (I have constant a flood of ideas like a Times Square ticker tape!), my head was bursting with potential topics and authors, and choosing which topics to cover and with whom to collaborate was more difficult than I imagined; there were numerous facets of issues to consider and many qualified people to expertly address them. “Women in Retina” in the modern era is a complex topic that will continue to evolve, and I tried my best to balance complexity with accessibility and applicability. We know that the definition of success differs for everyone. Nevertheless, we present here paths that these physicians have chosen, experienced, and are advising, to offer some examples of success in the field of retina for readers to consider.
The authors of this issue aced the difficult task of explaining the reality for women in retina—describing the barriers and opportunities they encounter and foresee, and proposing solutions to the problems they’ve observed—in order for us to continue to pave the path to success. I thank them for sharing their insights and life experiences with thoughtfulness and honesty. I believe many of their comments are not uniquely applicable only to women in retina, but rather can be applied to other fields in which women are still a minority and to both men and women in their early careers.
Avni Finn, MD, MBA, and Caroline Baumal, MD, interviewed a number of women leaders for their piece “Closing the Gender Gap in Retina.” María H. Berrocal, MD; Sharon Fekrat, MD; Nancy M. Holekamp, MD; Shlomit Schaal, MD, PhD; and Carol L. Shields, MD, offered their observations about the field’s challenges. Dr. Fekrat’s astute observation—“Medical schools are now more than 50% female, and, as a result, more women will choose ophthalmology and thus retina”—reminds us exactly why this issue of Retina Today is so timely.
Dr. Shields contributed to another cover article, this time with her husband, Jerry Shields, MD, to discuss their careers, their marriage, and the solutions they have found along the way. Not only is this profile of a retinal couple an integral component of this issue’s focus on success inside and outside the clinic, but it also serves as a record of the lives of two people whose influence on our field cannot be measured.
It has long been observed that the proportion of women on the podium is not reflective of the population of retina specialists. Tala Al-Khaled, BA, and Ann-Marie Lobo-Chan, MD, address this topic in “Pathway to the Podium,” a pearls piece that aspiring women and men in retina may find useful when navigating the meeting landscape. A discussion on mentorship with Audina M. Berrocal, MD; Zelia M. Correa, MD , PhD; and Adrienne W. Scott, MD, yields useful information for future retina leaders who are seeking a mentor or wishing to become one. Without mentors, as they point out, navigating the road to success would be far more difficult.
Julia A. Haller, MD, and Joan W. Miller, MD, sat down with me for a roundtable discussion about their pathways to leadership and their “views from the top” on women in retina as department leaders. Their perspectives on the price and benefits of departmental leadership serve as a useful glimpse inside the minds of two of retina’s important leaders.
As I worked on this issue, I was reminded once again that the best ally we have as we pave the road to success in any endeavor is each other. The contributors to this issue worked hard to make it a success. I know you’ll find these leading retina specialists’ experience and knowledge useful. I thank them and the Retina Today editorial staff from the bottom of my heart. Enjoy the issue. Cheers!
— Judy E. Kim, MD, Guest Editor
UPDATE ON A CASE FROM A PAST ISSUE
After the January/February issue went to press, Brian C. Joondeph, MD, MPS, informed the editorial staff that the patient profiled in the cover series article “An Elusive Macular Hole Closed by Eye Drops Alone” returned to his office for follow-up. As of February 2020, the patient’s VA was 20/30 and further fluid reduction had been demonstrated. To read this case, click the image below.