Gillingham Fellowship Experience:
Dr. Rafael Arango Botero

23 July 2020

My name is Rafael Arango Botero from Medellin, Colombia. I had the privilege of being one of the first Gillingham Fellowship award recipients from the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) in 1994. I did a six-month fellowship in oculoplastics at The Kellog Eye Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I received instruction from three great oculoplastic professors to whom I am profoundly grateful: Dr. Bartley Frueh, Dr. Christine Nelson and Dr. Victor Elner. Having this experience allowed me to return to my country and share the knowledge with my colleagues as well as to better serve patients in need for orbital, eyelid and lacrimal diseases. Although the experience was very demanding, it was worth the effort because it has made me a better ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon.

This was a once in a lifetime experience, not only for me but for my family. My wife, Patricia, took culinary classes at the campus where she met women from other countries, interchanging cultures and gastronomic experiences. My then five-year old son, Sebastian, attended school where he learned English and had a great time playing with the snow during the winter.

Finally, I invite young ophthalmologists to apply for this PAAO fellowship to be able to participate in a positive, life-changing experience both academically and in our personal lives.  I continue to support the PAAO each year with the membership fee and a donation.  I thank the Pan-American and the Retina Research Foundation for this wonderful opportunity.

Rafael Arango Botero
Medellín, Colombia




Right: Dr. Rafael Arango Botero, Mrs. Patricia Arango and 5 years-old Sebastian Arango in front of the Kellog Eye Center, 1994.