Blog Submitted by Dr. Rozalina Loebis
Rozalina Loebis is an opthalmologist from Surabaya, Indonesia. Rozalina is currently completing a fellowship in Salt Lake City at the John A. Moran Eye Center. These ORBIS fellowships provide local talented doctors with the opporunity to study at some of the word's greatest eye care institutions.
Working as a Hands-On-Trainee on an ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital program in my hometown Surabaya, Indonesia changed my entire perspective and now I can say without a doubt that for me it was a life-changing experience. Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology has become my preferred field now. My tremendous experiences working with ORBIS Volunteer Faculty has proven to be mind-opening into how interesting pediatric ophthalmology can be.
I have become even more passionate about this subspecialty, bearing in mind that most serious pediatric eye disorders can be prevented or avoided. But when they do occur, and often in spite of attempts at treatment or when left untreated—as is usually the case in most developing countries, like Indonesia—they can tragically result in a lifetime of blindness. This led me into my personal goal of saving Indonesian children’s eyes. I want to save their sight and have always hoped that one day, I could further my study in one of my mentors' hospitals to advance my knowledge and skills to be able to help the children in Indonesia.
After undertaking trainings in both the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital and Hospital-Based Program, ORBIS offered a scholarship to one of the faculty members in my department. Professor Sjamsu Boediono, being the head of department at that time, appointed me to take this opportunity. ORBIS granted me the chance to undertake a 3-month fellowship at John A. Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City, Utah with Dr. Robert Hoffman as my mentor. It made me speechless, happy and also surprised at the same time. When I spread this happy news to my family, all of them supported me and this brought me tears of joy.
As a mom of two children, I knew I could not do this without support of my family. Thanks to modern technology, communication with my loved ones couldn't be easier. Preparing to be away from them was one of the hardest preparations for this fellowship. I felt so lucky to have the meaningful support from my husband and family.
Here I am now, in Salt Lake City. Despite it's being early stages of the program, I’ve already gained a lot of knowledge and skills here. I can learn how to establish diagnostics of all cases and how to do examinations in the right way. Further, I am learning how to treat the patients as well as observe several varieties of surgical procedures. I also learned how well Dr. Hoffman provides explanations to the parents and I think this is the most important aspect of pediatric care, since children cannot make decisions for themselves. As a Pediatric Ophthalmologist we have to explain the procedures to parents, so they can make the right decisions about their child’s eye health.
When I am back in Indonesia, I will apply my clinical skills and knowledge to establish the right diagnosis and the right treatment for strabismus and pediatric eye disorders in Indonesia, especially in my hospital (it being one of top referral hospitals in Eastern Indonesia).
I would further like to help reduce preventable childhood blindness in Indonesia. On a deeper level, as a faculty member, I would like to develop a strabismus and pediatric ophthalmology curriculum with the goals of training and inspiring the junior ophthalmologists as they pursue clinical and basic research in pediatric eye services, along with developing a strabismus and pediatric ophthalmology fellowship in University of Airlangga in Surabaya. This would further help my institution to provide more opportunities for local ophthalmologists to gain skills and knowledge in this sub-specialty, and to enable the hospital to deliver services in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus throughout Indonesia, especially to those of under-served regions.
In the end, I would like to thank ORBIS for enabling me to make every step of my journey possible. And thank you for giving Indonesian children a brighter hope for their health.