7+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2010
I'm one of those hopeless idealists who entered ophthalmology aspiring to do make international humanitarian work be a significant part of my life. I'm close to finishing residency, and am starting to look for jobs and/or fellowship positions.

I admit that the dream that inspired me to pursue ophtho looks less and less realistic every day. Was it all just a mirage? The jobs I'm hearing about seem to offer 3 weeks of vacation per year (maybe 4), which doesn't leave much time for medical mission work. I'd be more hopeful if I knew that this was just an "associate" vacation schedule; is it too naive to hope that becoming a partner in an ophthalmology group would allow one control to take more vacation each year to devote to international work? As in 2-3 months of vacation per year, like our radiologist friends?

For those of you who do a significant amount of international work (i.e. at least several weeks per year), I'd love to hear how you make it work.

As I apply for jobs, do I keep these international aspirations to myself, hoping that if I become a partner someday, I can open up about wanting more time off? Telling employers that you want a lot of time off doesn't seem to be a great strategy for getting hired. On the other hand, it's easy to imagine that if you remain silent, you could end up being offered partnership in a practice where you won't have the ability to take the desired time off.

I'd love some advice. And, if you happen to be part of a practice with some people passionate about international work and are looking for a fresh hire--or know of any such practices--please send me a PM.
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10+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2006
Medical Student
The 3 A's for physicians are Availability, Affability, and Ability in that order.


2+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2015
Medical Student
great question/post. I feel very similarly and feel boxed in with options, unless I go solo. I have nothing to contribute but await responses!

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2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
Attending Physician
Same boat here.

I immigrated to the US and did all of my medical training here and over the years I've always had a burning desire to go back home (and other developing countries) to contribute my quota to the ophthalmic front.

I have similar constraints vis-a-vis vacation time etc, I'll start off with 3 weeks vacation and 1 week of "academic time" so 4 weeks total. My initial strategy regarding international work is to start slow and build up my involvement/engagement over time. I may just go for 1-2 weeks in the first few years to better understand the lay of the land, the local capacity/needs/priorities.

I think getting established in your career in the US, will ultimately help position you to do more on the international front. Once you have saved up some money, paid off loans, reached financial independence, you have the freedom to work part-time and dedicate more time and resources to international work. You could recruit colleagues, leverage industry contacts to bolster ur international work. Ideally, I think the two facets of ur professional life can have a symbiotic relationship but you have have to scale up the global health aspect over time.

Also, if anyone here want to collaborate/network/share ideas on global ophtho, feel free to pm me.
Apr 21, 2020
Fellow [Any Field]
Hi everyone, I know that the last reply was awhile ago, but does anyone have experience with the Global Ophthalmology fellowship from Stanford?


Junior Member
15+ Year Member
May 24, 2005

One of the groups I looked at offered 10 weeks of vacation to their partners. The opportunities are out there and there are people interested in global ophthalmology. This is probably very obvious, but the best gauge of a group's interest in global work is their history of participation in global work. Keep looking and networking. You will start to find like-minded people in your specialty. If you are Retina. PM me and I can send you a few folks.
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