What we do
FOCUS Inc. Focus is dedicated to promoting eye care solutions in Haiti, Rwanda, Jamaica, India, Burundi and other low resource settings.
Mentoring and Training:
FOCUS Inc. is committed to strengthening the ophthalmology residency training programs through direct involvement in all aspects of development. In addition to the hands-on training in the OR, both in person and remotely, FOCUS offers many paid fellowships to support the continued education and development of subspecialists in the field. These fellowships include Pediatric Ophthalmology, Retinopathy of Prematurity, Glaucoma, Cornea, and Oculoplastics.
Equipping and Supplying:
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 underserved areas. FOCUS Inc. strives to keep the eye clinics we support well supplied. 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.
Infrastructure and Technology Projects
Keeping true to the FOCUS reputation, sometimes what a host needs most has nothing to do with directly performing surgeries or seeing patients. In Haiti everything from running water to electricity was a constant struggle, especially when the electricity would be lost during surgery. FOCUS, with the help of our donors, installed a solar power/battery back-up system that automatically kicks in on loss of electricity from the very unreliable grid. A water cistern was installed on the top of the operating room to supply water continuously when needed. We repaired or installed air conditioners to all of the rooms and regularly need to maintain these since the air quality is poor in the city. FOCUS believes in creating sustainable, well-rounded solutions that improve patient outcomes from many angles. After all, cutting corners finds one walking in circles.
A “wet lab” is a hands-on opportunity for students and doctors to hone their surgical skills or practice something new. Wet labs have always been a crucial part of surgical training, however, the COVID-19 pandemic escalated the need and use of these labs to continue surgical training. In Haiti, donated microscopes, instrument trays and silicone eyeballs as well as high speed internet service allowed for synchronous and asynchronous teaching to take place in real time despite the pandemic. Eventually a high speed video system will be implemented to allow surgeries to be remotely mentored with a backup surgeon available on campus
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.