PAAO President’s Message

January 2020


Dear Friends & Colleagues,

“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

The Pan-American Ophthalmological Foundation (PAOF), currently led by Dr. Jorge Eugenio Valdez, is an intrinsic and important component of the PAAO. The Foundation provides the necessary resources to allow the PAAO to develop and implement several educational, leadership and developmental programs. There are multiple initiatives within the PAOF, including but not limited to, Circle of Vision, Tributes to great names in Ophthalmology, as well as scholarships, fellowships and travel awards to different meetings and congresses.

The key factor to have in mind when you think to contribute or donate to the PAOF is that you are really contributing to our future.  To maintain our PAAO and to improve its activities, it is paramount to empower groups of young ophthalmologists in different PAAO countries who will be the leaders of tomorrow. The current PAAO-young ophthalmologists (PAAO-YO) is one of the most active group of participants within our Organization.

The importance of giving for medical organizations is recognized by everyone involved. A few years ago, the Stanford Social Innovation Review published an article entitled “Driving Medical Research Through Major Giving.” The article reports the wonderful experience of the cystic fibrosis program which caught the attention of President Obama. In January 2015, President Obama highlighted CF research advances in his State of the Union Address, and hosted a White House reception with CF Foundation leaders and a patient who has benefited from the newly developed drugs. Harvard Business School has described the foundation’s venture philanthropy business model in two case studies, with one focusing on the foundation’s success in investing private donations in research collaborations between industry and academia to develop early stage, high-risk therapies.1

I am citing this wonderful achievement to highlight the importance of collaboration between PAAO, Academia and Industry. The PAOF is proud to have senior representatives of Ophthalmic pharmaceutical companies on its board. Their contributions have been of great value and has helped us to move forward with the important programs of the PAOF.

 The words of Carol Ryrie Brink “The most truly generous persons are those who give silently without hope of praise or reward” summarize extremely well the intention of my words to all of you today. Generosity brings out the best of us. Let’s be generous towards the PAAO through the excellent programs of the PAOF.

With affection and admiration,


Miguel N Burnier Jr, MD, MSc, PhD, FRCSC

PAAO President



1 Click here to read the SSIR article