MUSC The Catalyst
MUSC arial view


MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants Catalyst PDF File MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause

MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


Peds eye specialist welcomes experiences

by Cindy Abole

Public Relations
Soon Naeem Khan, M.D., will see his wife and five children again after a three-month absence that has placed him 7,450 miles away from his home in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Dr. Naeem Khan, second from left, receives a certificate from Dr. Ed Wilson, for completing a three-month training fellowship at MUSC. Joining them are opthalmologists Drs. Narendra Patel and Richard Saunders.

The absence has been worth it because he’s used the time to complete a training fellowship at MUSC’s Albert Florens Storm Eye Institute (SEI) to learn the latest skills to improve vision care for Pakistani children. When he returns to northern Pakistan in mid-July, he will be passing along the new skills he’s learned to his colleagues and his patients.
“Many children in Pakistan need good quality eye care,” said Khan, explaining the wide range of eye-care needs among the children who face a fractured health care system with few pediatric eye specialists.
According to Khan, Pakistan’s national population is at 200 million people with only 500 trained, general ophthalmologists and fewer than 100 pediatric ophthalmologists to care for a growing pediatric population. A continued problem is that the country’s general ophthalmologists are not properly trained to assess pediatric patients and recognize issues. “If they’re not properly trained, we can’t adequately serve the needs of children.”
Khan, an experienced pediatric ophthalmologist and surgeon, came to MUSC via a Fred Hollows Foundation training fellowship from March to June. The foundation, an international, non-profit organization, is named after a skilled Australian ophthalmologist, humanitarian and advocate. It is dedicated to restoring the eyesight of people living in developing countries around the world.
Khan’s connection with SEI began in 2007 while attending an international medical education training conference in Nepal. Among the speakers was SEI’s Richard A. Saunders, M.D., professor of ophthalmology and pediatric ophthalmologist. Khan spoke to him and later contacted Ed Wilson, M.D., Pierre Gautier Jenkins professor and chair and SEI director. Khan believed that with advanced training, he could learn new skills and techniques that could prevent and treat blindness and other eye diseases while making a difference in the lives of children from his homeland.
From Khan’s perspective, SEI provides an ideal training environment for international specialists like him thanks to the leadership and support of MUSC’s team of eye specialists, researchers and Wilson, who is a world-renowned clinician, surgeon and educator. Wilson and other colleagues regularly lecture and speak at professional and medical educational conferences throughout the world. Through Wilson’s leadership, SEI has hosted international ophthalmology training with fellows through partnerships with ORBIS International and Addis Ababa University’s Department of Ophthalmology in Ethiopia.
“Sharing knowledge is an important part of MUSC’s and SEI’s academic mission,” said Wilson. “For SEI faculty, the most productive form of transfer of knowledge and skills is to ‘teach the teachers.’ If we can reach the opinion leaders and doctors who will be training and influencing others, the ripple effect would be enormous.”
Khan worked alongside physicians, house staff, nurses, research faculty and other members of SEI’s team observing and learning from them. He shadowed Wilson, Saunders and others learning time-saving and efficient techniques, especially in the area of pediatric cataract implants and strabismus surgery (crossed eyes) and other clinical practices that can improve a patient’s overall experience and outcome.
“Seeing firsthand the results of procedures and processes is necessary before a visiting doctor is convinced to incorporate new things into his home routine. That kind of experience is not possible at a CME (continuing medical education) class–it occurs only by direct observation, questioning, reading and more observation and questioning. We hope that we can continue to consult with Dr. Khan long after he returns to his home country. We are appreciative of the Fred Hollows Foundation which supported this training model and funded Dr. Khan’s three-month visit with us,” Wilson said.
The Fred Hollows Foundation has already made a significant impact in Pakistan and many developing countries. Since 2003, the foundation has provided clinical care services, training infrastructure support and equipment for medical personnel.
Khan is eager to share his knowledge and experiences with colleagues and his patients at Haytabad Medical Complex, a 1,000-bed government hospital, where he practices. Although Khan will miss his newfound friends from MUSC, he will be happy to reunite with wife, Nasreen Laiq, M.D., who is a cardio-anesthesiologist, and his family.
Khan completed his medical training in Pakistan, graduating from Khyber Medical College and the University of Peshawar in 1996. He completed his ophthalmology training at the College of Physicians & Surgeons in Karachi and an additional fellowship with the LV Prasad Eye Institute in India.
As part of his experience, Khan submitted monthly reports to the foundation. He already has made recommendations for expanding the fellowship partnership with MUSC paving the way for other eye care specialists from his country who are anxious to learn and practice.  
“Our goal is to treat and prevent blindness, and I believe it will be the Pakistani children who will benefit from such a partnership,” Khan said.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.