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(Student Outreach and Research)

The Balkan Center’s SOAR Fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute provides medical students, ophthalmologists, and researchers the opportunity to foster a passion for vision research.


Opportunities for Medical Students:


The SOAR Fellowship allows medical students with research interests in childhood eye disease to gain additional experience at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute while completing their medical degree. The program focuses on principles of research from exposure to international programs for blindness prevention, ocular genetics, community outreach, and gaining knowledge in biostatistics and manuscript writing.


Opportunities for Physicians and Researchers:


The SOAR Fellowship provides physicians, ophthalmologists, or ophthalmic researchers, early in their careers, the opportunity to collaborate and expand their scope of research at Bascom Palmer with a focus on international pediatric eye disease research and outreach.


Potential Areas of Research 

  • Virtual Reality Visual Fields


  • Telehealth Initiatives


  • Quality of Life in Children with Visual Impairments and their Families


  • ​International Outreach


  • Health Knowledge Assessment and Dissemination


  • Social Innovation

Programs and

  • Childhood Glaucoma Research

       Network (CGRN)

  • Pediatric Preventable Blindness


  • Patients, Parents, and Providers

       Support Initiative (3PSI)

  • WeCare

  • Ocular Genetics

The SOAR Fellowship

Is a donor-funded education program of the Samuel & Ethel Balkan International Pediatric Glaucoma Center at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. This full-time program is designed to provide a year of focused research experience to students and early career physicians with an interest in clinical research and/or outreach in vision. Fellows are instructed in the principles of research and manuscript writing by working closely with the physicians of The Balkan Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s career researchers.


Our established national and international programs and initiatives provide a structure from which Fellows choose Basic Science/Genetics, Public Health, or Neuroscience tracks of study. Students of varied ophthalmic knowledge backgrounds are welcome. A stipend for UM Medical Students is offered to offset living expenses.



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Rayan Abou Khzam, MD

Former Ophthalmic Pathology Fellow

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute


Lebanese American University

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Dr. Vandana Persad, MBBS

House Officer, Resident PGY3

Dept. of Ophthalmology,

UWI, Trinidad & Tobago

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Meghan Sharma, BA

MD Candidate

University of Miami

Miller School of Medicine


Yingying Shi, MD

Former Medical Retina Fellow

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute


Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center



For consideration, submit your current CV along with a personal statement here by February 3, 2023

For questions, contact Dr. Eleonore Savatovsky, Director, SOAR Fellowship Program here

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