Aakriti Garg Shukla, MD is a 2022 ASCRS Foundation Young Eye Surgeon International Service Grant recipient. This grant was created for aspiring humanitarian ophthalmologists who want to participate in and learn about the complexities of our global healthcare system. Read below about Dr. Shukla's service project in Pondicherry, India and her international humanitarian contributions. Our 2023 grant application is now open through September 8, 2022. Apply here!
ASCRS Foundation: How did you initially become interested in ophthalmology?
Dr. Shukla: "Throughout medical school, I saw that my ophthalmology mentors had the ability to have a tremendous positive impact on patient’s lives. Through my international experiences and involvement in a lab, I also learned about the immense need for vision-restoring and vision-preserving surgery globally as well as the need for research to improve clinical care. I knew then that no field would make me as fulfilled as ophthalmology."
ASCRS Foundation: How did you hear about the ASCRS Foundation and the Young Eye Surgeon International Service Grant program?
Dr. Shukla: "I learned about the ASCRS Foundation/YES International Service Grant through the work of my former co-resident and close friend, Priya M. Mathews, MD, MPH. She was a grantee in 2020 and in a few short years, she has created a global keratoplasty alliance through the help of the YES award.
ASCRS Foundation: Can you tell us more about the service project that you are working on as a result of the grant?
Dr. Shukla: "I partnered with Rengaraj Venkatesh, MD, and V.R. Vivekanandan, MD, at the Aravind Eye Hospital in Pondicherry, India, and was mentored by Alan L. Robin, MD. Our study aims to evaluate OR devices that are reused at Aravind (including phacoemulsification tubing, phacoemulsification fluid, gowns, gloves) but not in most developed countries. Our aim is to see if reuse is associated with contamination and decline in performance. Our data collection is nearly complete and we are looking forward to analysis and manuscript-writing."
ASCRS Foundation: What advice would you give to other young ophthalmologists looking to pursue the Young Eye Surgeon International Service Grant opportunity?
Dr. Shukla: "There is a lot to learn from ophthalmology care around the world. Think about how you can contribute globally and exchange ideas/techniques/protocols to allow for better clinical outcomes for patients across the world"
The Young Eye Surgeons International Service Grant was created to
inspire young eye surgeons to become involved with global eye care on a
long-term basis. The grant affords the opportunity to participate in
health care systems, including teaching institutions and community
programs, in developing countries. Email Violet Gehr, Foundation Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you have any questions.