Appreciation Letter for the ICO Fellowship Scholarship
I am really appreciated for your kindly full support of my ICO fellowship in New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. It was the best experience of my life and I gained so much professionally and personally.
It was an honor to study under the guidance of Professor Robert Ritch, one of the most prestigious glaucoma masters. My daily schedule was composed of seeing patients with doctors in the clinics, observing surgeries in the operating rooms, and doing research at the Einhorn Clinical Research Center. From observation in the clinics, I noticed the differences in handling patients between United States and Taiwan. I learned the importance of taking time to educate and communicate with patients. I also had access to the most up-to-date machines and equipments in diagnosis and treatments. In the operating rooms, I observed new surgical techniques and devices. I planned to implement what I learned here in my own country.
I was awed by and envious of the abundance of state of the art machines and funding available for medical research in the US. Dr. Sung Chul Park was my mentor at the research center. He was a pioneer of the three-dimensional high-resolution analysis of the optic nerve head in glaucoma. He worked very hard and I learned a lot in doing research with him. Sometimes we worked together till midnight and even on the weekend. He and I will continue working on the research project of the optical coherence tomography (OCT) machine artifacts.
In addition to the clinical and research activities, there were many academic activities for the residents and fellows in the hospital. I learned a lot from attending the weekly grand round of the ophthalmology department at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and at the New York University. I also attended the journal meeting and the OKAP board review courses. Not only I was able to update my knowledge in ophthalmology, I also got a chance to practice a new glaucoma medical device on pig eyes in the wet lab. It’s an unforgettable experience and I was so jealous that there was such a well-equipped wet lab for residents to practice.
On the social side, through the program I met and made many new friends. Because this is a renowned hospital, there were many international fellows being trained here. We were able to have social gatherings whenever possible. We shared our training experiences, had better understanding of other countries’ cultures and medical environment, and discussed why we were aspired by the medical professions in the US.
Doing the fellowship at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in New York City was a double bonus for me. The hospital provided me a very comfortable furnished apartment with the view of Empire State building. The supporting staff was very helpful whenever an issue needed to be addressed. My apartment building was next to the hospital in the East Village. It was convenient to subways and I took every opportunity to see New York. I went to major tourist spots, museums and Broadway shows. I got to dine in many exotic restaurants. My timing of the program could not be better as I got to spend Christmas and New Year in NYC. The city was so beautiful during the Christmas and the New Year. Prof. Ritch invited everyone in the clinic to a Christmas party and we had a wonderful time. When I watched the countdown as the Time Square ball dropping slowly ushering in 2012, I couldn’t stop my tears from falling because my dream came true!
This is the best experience in my life. Only with your support, I had this once-in-a-life-time opportunity. Thank you for making this such a success. I shall always cherish this experience and will bring all the learning back to my country for implementation.
Ho Tsung-Yu, M.D.
Department of Ophthalmology
Taipei Veterans General Hospital