What we do
FOCUS Inc. is dedicated to building local eye care capacity in Haiti by training, equipping and
supplying local ophthalmologists.
Education and Training:
FOCUS Inc. is committed to strengthening the ophthalmology residency training programs in
Haiti through direct involvement in all aspects of their development. We have developed an
entire curriculum delivered by interactive telemedicine in French that is both comprehensive and
tailored to the most common needs in Haiti. Surgical training has been greatly enhanced by
frequent visits by FOCUS Inc. volunteer surgeons for one-on-one surgical training. In addition,
FOCUS Inc. built a full-time wet lab with advanced video capabilities with good quality
microscopes so that junior residents can hone their skills on simulation eyes before operating on
New Clinics in Haiti:
FOCUS Inc. is dedicated to removing obstacles and assisting in the development of new eye
clinics in Haiti staffed by recent graduates of the residency training program that we have been
working with throughout their training. The cost of equipment, supplies, materials, and clinic is a
major barrier preventing the establishment of a new clinic. This is especially true in the areas
outside of Port au Prince as the cost and risk of any new venture are usually prohibitive.
Focus Inc. realizes that equipment costs are a major barrier to delivering quality eye care and
we strive to remove these obstacles by providing high-quality cost-effective equipment to both
the residency program and newly established clinics in the most underserved areas of Haiti.
This barrier is often insurmountable for a young doctor to start a new clinic without assistance.
New ophthalmology residents in the developed world regularly spend several thousand dollars
on personal examination equipment that is needed. FOCUS supplies each new resident with
this equipment and the start of their residency with the help of our donors and industry partners.
FOCUS Inc. strives to keep the eye clinics we support well supplied. Nothing can be taken for
granted as the state hospital of Haiti is so poorly funded that almost no supplies are counted on.
Supplies can be anything from ink, paper, light bulbs for equipment, and batteries to surgical
supplies for cataract surgery. We take for granted that our medical practices at home have a
very large overhead for so many of these items.
Pediatric Ophthalmology Fellowship
Children require special care and many ophthalmologists are not able to perform the specialized procedures that children require. The FOCUS/USAID pediatric ophthalmology fellowship began in May 2021 with the support of a USAID Childhood Blindness Prevention grant. The first pediatric fellowship was awarded to past Chief Resident, Dr. Yamilee Cherubin. An examination room at the eye clinic was refurbished and equipped to examine children. This program is a cornerstone to our NO MORE BLIND BABIES CAMPAIGN.
Retinopathy of Prematurity Fellowship
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a permanently blinding disease that can affect the very smallest premature babies. With proper screening of newborn premature babies, treatment can prevent a lifetime of blindness. In 2020, FOCUS spearheaded an effort to start screening and treatment of babies with ROP in Haiti. This is a centerpiece of our NO MORE BLIND BABIES campaign and led to the award of a USAID Childhood Blindness Prevention grant in early 2021 which provided funding for the expansion of these services in Haiti by local physicians. The first ROP fellowship is mentored by Dr. Daniel Alter and was awarded to Dr. Shakespeare Saintil who had just finished his year as Chief Resident at the residency training program at the Haiti State Hospital (HUEH). Screening and treatment is now performed at three neonatal units in Port au Prince, Haiti. Additional sources of funding for this important activity is sought to continue the program after the USAID grant expires.
Dr Mike Maingrette is trained in glaucoma surgery and will be the local leader. Deepak Edward, Greg Nelson, and Mildred Olivier will coordinate the program for FOCUS. We are currently setting up supplies with donations form New World Ophthalmics and from FOCUS donors or surgical instruments and lenses.
A cornea fellowship is planned to begin in January 2022. Dr. Jeune Martine will be the cornea
fellow and upon graduation she will become Haiti’s first cornea specialist. Cornea blindness is a
common cause of blindness in Haiti and cornea transplantation offers hope to many patients.
An oculoplastics fellowship is planned for early 2022 with Dr. Joel Desir and Dr. Webner Louis
as the first recipients of the stipend. They are already devoting 2 days per week each at HUEH
helping residents in the wet lab, in surgery and are seeing the lid, eye socket and tearing
patients in the eye clinic. Mentors will include specialized oculoplastic physicians from Illinois
and Memphis, along with Dr. Myers as the coordinator.
Surgical simulation lab
The wet lab was established several years ago with donations of used microscopes, and
purchased instrument trays and silicone model eyes through a generous donation from Orbis
and SEE International. It was piloted by Dr. Louis at inception, and he and Dr. Desir have taken
on responsibility for MSICS surgery training of the new residents. This wet lab has allowed
ongoing training of cataract surgery during the periods of Covid-19 and of clinic closures. We
are currently developing a high speed video system and fast internet so that synchronous and
asynchronous teaching can take place in real time. Eventually this will allow surgeries to be
remotely mentored with a backup surgeon available on campus.
Residency Program Country Coordinators
Development and support of new clinics in Haiti. FOCUS has been helping Drs. Desir and
Louis set up a clinic and surgical suite in St. Marc where until now there have not been any
ophthalmologists performing surgery. They will also be working with the Partners in
Health/Zanmi Lasante family practice residency to coordinate care for diabetic, hypertensive
and cataract patients. Donations to date include an autorefractor, an operating microscope, and
surgical trays. Dr. Myers has arranged help from LAICO and Aravind in setting up their clinic
and operating room.