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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Department of Ophthalmology

About the Program

photo of residency group

The department currently provides a three-year postgraduate training program for 21 residents, with seven new candidates accepted each year. Residents benefit from the wisdom of a large, expert faculty with a deep commitment to teaching, and they have the opportunity to work with the latest diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. The organized teaching program consists of approximately 350 hours of didactic lectures per residency, covering all subspecialty areas within ophthalmology. Residents leave the clinic areas one afternoon a week and report to Downstate for an afternoon of grand rounds case presentations followed by didactics. Special program features include the Wills Review Course for 1st year residents, and the University of Illinois at Chicago review course for 2nd year residents. Senior residents are granted permission to attend an approved paid educational course of their choice if academic criteria is met in first 2 years of training on OKAP examination results. The SUNY Downstate program offers its own basic science review course, with several surgical courses given throughout the year. A surgical cataract simulator is available to all residents throughout their training.

A graduated surgical experience is afforded to the residents with 1st years involved in traumatic eyelid repair, minor procedures, and pterygium surgery. The second years are involved with strabismus surgery, retinal and glaucoma laser surgery, and begin cataract surgery at the midway point in the year. Surgical observations for the various types of eye surgery are mandatory for all 1st and 2nd year residents. The senior year's surgical training includes work to supplement previously performed surgery in addition to being primary surgeon for penetrating keratoplasty, vitreo-retinal surgery, glaucoma surgery and globe trauma. All residents exceed the minimum surgical requirements set by the Accreditation Commission for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). It is expected that the senior residents will all perform more than 120 cataract cases. A comparable experience is gained in ocular trauma, glaucoma surgery, retinal surgery and laser surgery.

The program includes monthly faculty grand rounds, often with visiting professors, updating residents and faculty on developing trends and techniques in ophthalmology, in addition to the weekly resident grand rounds. As mentioned, all residents execute a research project, and mentorships are established in the first year of residency training. Special program features include collaborative surgical courses with other academic institutions.

Strengths of the overall residency program include the extensive exposure to trauma cases, and well-structured rotations through programs at the affiliated hospitals. All resident levels have an equivalent learning experience as their rotation sites are identical each year of training. Residents get off to a positive start through experience with varied patient populations and pathologies at the different clinical sites. Another outstanding aspect of the SUNY Downstate education program is the opportunity to work and learn in state-of-the-art facilities, where the most sophisticated equipment permits conducting very advanced procedures. Residents often praise the enthusiasm of the faculty and the program's emphasis on research accomplishment.

Many residents go on to fellowship training and have received very prestigious positions at top institutions. Nonetheless, residents choosing to go directly into practice from our residency are indeed ready and able to perform at very high levels. Over the last decade, there has been a marked increase in the quality of applicants for our residency program openings, attracted by the department's growing national reputation. At its most recent review by the ACGME in 2013, the department received a 10 year full accreditation.


SUNY Downstate Ophthalmology Residency Listing


PL3 Class 2019 Medical School Attended
Dr. Konstantin Astafurov SUNY Downstate (MD, PhD)
Dr. Arpine Barsegian SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Dr. Gurdeep Jhaj SUNY Upstate
Dr. Matthew Karl SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Dr. Anthony Parendo Jefferson Medical College
Dr. Alexander Pinhas Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Dr. Joseph Raevis Georgetown University School of Medicine


PL2 Class 2020 Medical School Attended
Dr. Adam Chubak VCU School of Medicine
Dr. Matthew Donovan Miller School of Medicine University of Miami
Dr. Levon Djenderedjian University of Tennessee Health and Science Center College
Dr. Neha Gadaria Seth GS Medical College & KEM Hospital (Penny Asbell Fellow)
Dr. Charles Miller UMDNJ- RWJ Medical School (MD,PhD)
Dr. Laura Palazzolo SUNY Downstate
Dr. Eva Raparia SUNY Downstate
Dr. Shobha Topgi Rush Medical College of Rush University


PL1 Class 2021 Medical School Attended
Dr. Ekhyot Gill University of Maryland School of Medicine
Dr. Saeed Javidi Drexel University College of Medicine
Dr. John Kroger University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Dr. Nicole Lanza University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Dr. Charlotte Marous Saint George's University School of Medicine
Dr. Maxine Miller Drexel University College of Medicine
Dr. Benjamin Wilson University of Miami Miller School of Medicine


Class Entering 2019 Medical School Attended
Dr. Albear Sinan Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Dr. Mira D. Amin Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
Dr. Nataliya Antonova SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Dr. Michael Bivona SUNY Upstate Medical University
Dr. Lena Chen SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Dr. Matthew Greenberg University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Dr. Thanh M. Nguyen Eastern Virginia Medical School



SUNY Downstate Ophthalmology Graduates

Graduates 2018 Fellowship
Dr. Christopher Adam Vitreoretinal – KRESGE Eye Institute
Dr. Jay Arora Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Charles McCanna Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Christopher Orr Cornea – Mt. Sinai Hospital
Dr. Shaily Shah Cornea – Weill  Cornell Medical Center
Dr. Neha Shaik Cornea – Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Dr. Benjamin Whigham Glaucoma – Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute


Graduates 2017 Fellowship
Dr. Prachi Dua Cornea - Northwell Health Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital
Dr. Ilan Epstein Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island
Dr. Boleslav Kotlyar Retina – Retina Consultants Ltd.
Dr. Nataliya Pokeza Cornea - Wills Eye Hospital
Dr. Mamta Shah Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery – Alleghany Health Network
Dr. Nora Silverman Oculoplastics – University of Washington
Dr. Amirfarbod Yazdanyar Vitreoretinal – University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA


Graduates 2016 Fellowship
Dr. Eitan Burstein Glaucoma - University of Virginia
Dr. Frank Cao Cornea - SUNY Downstate
Dr. Edward Chay Glaucoma - University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Ghulam Dastgir Cornea - MEETH/Northwell
Dr. Nicholas Farber Retina - University North Carolina
Dr. Reshma Mehendale Practice (Bob Ritch Fellow)
Dr. Jenny Temnogorod Oculoplastics - Wills Eye Institute


Graduates 2015 Fellowship
Dr. Michael Dattilo Neuro-Ophthalmology - Emory
Dr. Solly Elmann Retina - National Retina Institute
Dr. Jay Arun Joseph Glaucoma - Massachusetts Eye and Ear Harvard
Dr. Jewel Liao Cornea - SUNY Downstate
Dr. James Murphy Glaucoma - Columbia University Medical Center
Dr. Asher Neren Cornea - UT Southwestern
Dr. Jeffrey Tan Retina - University Southern California


Graduates 2014 Fellowship
Dr. Matthew Gorski Cornea - Northshore MEETH
Dr. Jason Moss Retina - Institute of California LA
Dr. Renelle Pointdujour Shields Ocular Oncology - Wills Eye Institute
Dr. Allison Rizzuti Cornea - SUNY Downstate
Dr. Jordan Spindle ASOPRS Oculoplastics - University of Alabama
Dr. Adam Thode Cornea - NY Eye and Ear
Dr. Frank Tsai Retina - UC San Diego


Graduates 2013 Fellowship
Dr. Cindy Calderon Retina - The Eye Specialty Group (formerly VRF) Memphis, TN
Dr. Justin Gutman Retina - UT Southwestern
Dr. David Mostafavi Uveitis - New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
Dr. Chirantan Mukhopadhyay Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Sherry Narang Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. David Rand Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Isaac Reich Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Sheetal Shah Cornea - UT Southwestern


Graduates 2012 Fellowship
Dr. Sara Ferri Cornea - Johns Hopkins College of Medicine
Dr. Sara Hanson Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Amy Kulak Plastics - Kresge
Dr. Akil Pascal Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Gabriel Schaab Cornea - University of Wisconsin College of Medicine
Dr. Melanie Sobel Comprehensive Ophthalmology


Graduates 2011 Fellowship
Dr. Ramanath Bhandari Retina - University of Colorado
Dr. John Frisbee Retina - Ochsner Clinic Foundation
Dr. Andrew Greenberg Glaucoma - NY Eye and Ear Infirmary
Dr. Alex Karvelishvili Retina - Valley Retina Institute Texas
Dr. Margaret Liu Cornea - Johns Hopkins College of Medicine
Dr. Monika Singh Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Beatrice Whitaker Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Dr. Lauren Yeager Peds Ophtho - National Children's Hospital Washington


Graduates 2010 Fellowship
Dr. Rodney Coe Retina - University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Gennifer Greebal Peds Ophtho - National Children's Hospital Washington
Dr. Sheetal Patel Cornea - Cornell Medical Center
Dr. Allison Rand Cornea - Mount Sinai Medical Center
Dr. Marjorie Rico Oculoplastics - Dr. Janet Neigel
Dr. Brandon Rodriguez Cornea - Cornell Medical Center
Dr. Jeremy Shaw Medical Retina - Duke University Medical Center


Graduates 2009 Fellowship
Dr. Habeeb Ahmed Cornea - USC
Dr. Kichiemon Asoma Cornea - UT Southwestern
Dr. Carl Danzig Retina - UT Southwestern
Dr. Majida Gaffar Peds Ophtho - National Children's Hospital Washington
Dr. Adam Jacobowitz Uveitis - Johns Hopkins College of Medicine
Dr. Na Ma Neuro - Ophthalmology/Plastics, Kingsbrook/Downstate
Dr. Preeti Poley Retina - University of Nebraska
Dr. Kirk Sturridge Glaucoma - University of Iowa


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