Danny H.-Kauffmann Jokl, MD International Vitreoretinal Fellowship at Harkness Eye Institute

Program Description

Vitreoretinal faculty at the Department of Ophthalmology of Columbia University Irving Medical Center has been one of the top institutes for the training of vitreoretinal surgeons. Several prominent US and international vitreoretinal specialist are among the graduates of the vitreoretinal fellowship training program at Harkness Eye Institute. The need of fellowship trained vitreoretinal surgeons outside US has given birth to idea of creating an additional slot just for foreign medical graduates. The aim of the “International Vitreoretinal Fellowship” program is to train promising young foreign medical graduates in the field of vitreoretinal surgery with the hope of creating a flow of information and technical abilities at the service of patients abroad. This program should not be seen as a simple skill transfer but a step of creating examples of academic excellence in remote parts of the world through which the novel ideas and a network of cooperative associations can be built. 

Program Duration

International vitreoretinal program is offered for one-year. 


The goal of the Danny H.-Kauffmann Jokl, MD International Retina Fellowship program is to provide an advanced level of training in the diagnosis and management of vitreoretinal diseases. International fellows will learn the diagnosis and management of vitreoretinal diseases by initial evaluation and long-term follow-up of patients in our clinics. They will assist and perform surgery under the guidance of the retina faculty. They are expected to scholarly activities, such as reading, discussing and contributing to subspecialty journals and texts as well as leading, organizing and lecturing in national and international conferences. Vitreoretinal fellows are encouraged to participate in basic, translational and clinical research projects, under the mentorship of vitreoretinal research faculty at Harkness Eye Institute, which includes Drs. Rando Allikmets, Jane Sparrow, Irene Maumenee, Konstantin Petrukhin, Ronald Silverman, Nan Kai Wang, Xin Zhang and Tinting Yang. International fellow is required to follow the principles of ethical and humane treatment of patients in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Declaration of Helsinki Standards, and the ARVO statement for the use of Animals in Ophthalmic and Vision Research.
International fellows are offered the same clinical, surgical, research and academic opportunities as the regular vitreoretinal fellow accepted through San Francisco Match program.


Candidates must graduate from a foreign medical schools listed in the International Medical Education Directory, must have passed USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 (clinical knowledge and clinical skills) test and should not have any limitation for being granted a Fellowship Training Limited License in the State of New York as outlined in Title 8, Article 131, Section 6524 of New York's Education Law and Part 60 of the Commissioner's Regulations (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/med/medlic.htm). Although not required, applicants are encouraged to seek funds through scholarships, grants or their own institutes and governments to support their salary. Please, contact program manager to learn the details of the financial requirements.

Selection Process

Availability of the position is advertised by direct e-mails to chairs of ophthalmology departments abroad. Applicants are requested to send their updated CV along with three reference letters to program coordinator Ms. Patricia Galvin (pag2109@cumc.columbia.edu). Considering the travel costs and possible financial restrictions of the fellows, interviews are conducted either during their attendance to professional/scientific meetings or via teleconferencing through internet. Although no test is required for documenting the proficiency in English, during the interviews candidates’ communication skills will be evaluated by Harkness Eye Institute vitreoretinal faculty, including Drs. Tongalp H. Tezel, Aliaa Abdelhakim, Stanley Chang, Jack Coleman, Vlad Diaconita, Jason Horowitz, Steve Tsang, Srilaxmi Bearelly and Royce Chen. Academic background, publishing record and candidates’ professional goals and the benefit of the training to his/her community will be elemental in deciding the ranking of the candidate. 


Although International Fellowship program is not supervised by AUPO, clinical training requirements and performance of the trainees are assessed in accordance to AUPO criteria. Vitreoretinal fellows meet with the program director on biweekly basis and report their clinical and academic activities to the program director every month. During these meetings fellows teaching abilities, commitment to the educational program, clinical knowledge, and scholarly activities are evaluated and plans that address the weaknesses are discussed to achieve progression.   

The program director provides a final evaluation for the international fellow before completion of the program. This evaluation includes a review of the fellow’s performance during the final period of education and verifies that the fellow has demonstrated sufficient professional ability to practice competently and independently. Upon successful completion of the program, international fellows are awarded with a certificate.

Contact Information