In January, faculty from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago began providing sub-specialty medical and surgical eye care at the Illinois Eye Institute. Four UIC ophthalmologists are each servicing a different sub-specialty: cornea, retina, glaucoma and oculoplastics. The retina and glaucoma specialists are seeing patients at the IEI twice per month. The cornea and oculoplastics providers are visiting the IEI once a month; it’s expected that patient volume in these areas will increase after six months, at which point the providers will come to the IEI twice monthly.
Last fall ICO hosted a reception for UIC faculty, with the intention of providing an opportunity for doctors from the two schools to learn more about each other and their institutions’ offerings. “A lot of their faculty were not familiar with our facilities,” says Dominick Opitz, OD, FAAO, ICO associate professor and associate chief of staff. “Many of them were surprised at the scope of our resources.”
Clinical care is just the first aspect of the UIC collaboration. Another component is research. Though a number of doctors at ICO and UIC have already partnered on research, the plan is to make the research relationship between the two schools more formal and intensive. A third area is clinical education. UIC has initiated a student externship program, and beginning in August one ICO fourth-year student will complete an externship rotation on the UIC campus.