A Structured Curriculum
The RSA Fellowship program includes advanced training in corneal, refractive, and anterior segment conditions and surgery with a strong emphasis is on refractive surgery and all forms of vision correction. Applicants who seek a career in cornea and external disease should seek other opportunities.
The RSA Fellowship Program is offered in two formats – a one year fellowship, and a one-year fellowship with a second year as an Associate working in the host practice. Both prepare the Fellow for a career in refractive surgery.
The one-year RSA Fellowship program follows a structured, standardized curriculum accredited by the World College of Refractive Surgery & Visual Sciences, which oversees curriculum and accreditation for training in refractive surgery for surgeons and ancillary personnel. The one-year program includes many of the benefits of the two year program. Both one- and two-year fellows participate in the fellowship network, including virtual Conclaves run by the academic director, RSA courses, Journal Club, and the opportunity to rotate to other clinical sites.
An optional second year – undertaken by mutual agreement of the Fellow and the preceptor – is offered to exceptional candidates. The two-year program prepares the Fellow to run their own practice and succeed as an entrepreneurial refractive surgeon. Fellows who participate in the two-year program participate in the PHYSICIAN CEO® program, assist in mentoring first-year fellows, and have the opportunity perform significant surgical volume.
The decision to enroll in the second year is made six-months into the first year by mutual agreement of the fellow and the host preceptor. See “Commitment” for details.
Post Fellowship Opportunities
The RSA Fellowship program includes a standardized curriculum experience with a strong focus on skills transfer across several dimensions of expertise – clinical, surgeon, business, practice development, innovation, teaching, research, and collaboration.
RSA Fellows are often offered a high-earning, supervised practice opportunity in an RSA-approved practice, by mutual agreement. This ensures immediate positioning and the successful launch of Fellows in their chosen specialty, right from the start.
As well, opportunities exist to create a new practice for exceptional RSA Fellows who are entrepreneurial, employ a values-based approach to their work, and have a passion to lead in refractive surgery. Alternatives to the supervised practice opportunity are also available, for those who wish to enter practice outside the RSA Network.
One-Year Curriculum (Fellow)
The cornerstone of this program is the RSA core value of collaboration. Fellows in each cohort will experience the fellowship program together and will continue their collaboration likely throughout their careers.
Each fellow is based at a “Host Site” with a preceptor who oversees the fellow’s training. During the program, fellows participate in several programs, courses, meetings and online sessions as a group, enhancing the experience with like-minded colleagues who work together to create a positive environment.
Fellows in both one and two-year programs participate in the following:
~ VIRTUAL CONCLAVES: Held once each month, Conclaves bring the fellows together with the RSA Fellowship Academic Director to provide in-depth training and skills transfer on core topics.
~ ELECTIVES: Fellows take up to three 2-week to 1-month “Electives” at other Network sites. These sites are in the US and abroad, and provide opportunities to experience different practice settings, explore research interests, gain hands-on surgical experience, and learn about the business aspects of building and running a practice.
~ FOUNDATIONS: Three RSA “Foundations” courses prepare the fellow to participate in the innovation process. Each course is presented over 3 virtual sessions led by Michael Mrochen, PhD, a leading ophthalmic innovator. Topics include lasers, lenses, optics, materials, intellectual property protection, the patent process, innovation, and training on how to serve on medical advisory boards. The Foundations Courses consist of 3-Modules that rotate over a 2-year period. Fellows are expected to participate in all Foundations Modules that occur during their Fellowship.
~ DIDACTICS: Clinical didactics are taught in a variety of “RSA Solutions” programs such as that offered by Dan Reinstein, MD of the London Vision Clinic and the RSA course on Lens-Based Refractive Surgery (LBRS). Participation in these courses may be in-person or virtual, depending on availability and circumstance.
~ MEETINGS: Each fellow is expected to develop one or more projects and present the results at a major ophthalmic “Meeting” during the fellowship. Participation in meetings may be in-person or virtual, depending on circumstance.
~ MEMBERSHIP: Fellows/Associates are granted membership in the Refractive Surgery Alliance (RSA) throughout their participation in the RSA Fellowship, with all the rights and privileges of full RSA members.
Development of high-quality surgical skills is a main emphasis of the program. Fellows are expected to perform more than 300 procedures during the 1-year fellowship and more than 1,000 procedures during the 2-year fellowship, both at their Host Site and during electives at affiliated training sites.
Fellows who successfully complete the 1-year RSA Fellowship Program, including the oral and written board examination from the World College of Refractive Surgery & Visual Sciences, are designated as “RSA Fellowship Trained Refractive Surgeon.”
Two-Year Curriculum (Associate)
Each Host Site is scheduled to have one first-year fellow and one second-year fellow. The first-year fellow is mostly occupied with learning, which the second-year fellow participates in both teaching and learning. Refractive surgery is a growing field – training incoming surgeons is a key skill for every refractive surgeon!
Fellows who continue after the first year as “Associates” also participate in the following:
~ PHYSICIAN CEO®: Associates participate in the PHYSICIAN CEO®, a top-quality business and leadership training program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the takes place in four 5-day “modules” over a 9-month period, starting in February during the Fellow year of the Fellowship Program.
~ PRACTICE DEVELOPMENT: Associates develop a formal business plan that they intend to execute upon completion of the Associate term. The business plan involves market selection, practice mission, values, scope and goals, personnel descriptions, marketing plan, equipment selection, space needs analysis, branding, financial projections, funding strategies, and all the other components of a comprehensive business plan. The plan is not theoretical, it is meant to be executed!
~ TEACHING: Associates are mentored on how to train refractive surgeons and collaborative care personnel.
~ RESEARCH: Optional clinical research opportunities are available for Associates.
RSA Fellows who successfully complete the “Associate” year and pass the oral and written board examination from the World College of Refractive Surgery & Visual Sciences, earn the designation “Fellow of the World College of Refractive Surgery & Visual Sciences” or FCRS.