PAAO President’s Message

February 2020

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

“In order to be a great clinician, one needs to understand the pathological mechanisms that leads to the signs and symptoms of a given disease in a particular patient.”

– Lorenz Zimmerman

In early January I had a wonderful three-day experience giving an Ocular Pathology course at the Tec Salud Faculty of Medicine, in Monterrey, Mexico. The course was organized in leadership of the department of Ophthalmology and coordinated by Jorge Valdez. Dr. Valdez is the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and is the president of PAOF (Pan-American Ophthalmological Foundation).

The local attendees from a diverse group of medical students, residents, fellows and professors from different departments such as Ophthalmology, Pathology, Oncology and Surgery. Biologist and graduate students doing basic and clinical research were also present. The lectures and excellent discussion were based on the clinical pathological correlations of ocular diseases particularly infectious, inflammatory and neoplastic diseases. Lesions of the anterior part of the eye, including eyelids and conjunctiva, as well as orbital and intra ocular diseases were all presented and discussed. The emphasis was in how a cellular and tissue damage gets represented by a given clinical appearance.  Most of the time during those lectures I remembered my dear master professor and friend Lorenz Zimmerman, certainly one of the most important role models of my professional and scientific life.

This type of review ocular pathology course makes me reflect on the importance of the teaching of clinical pathological correlations for ophthalmologists and pathologists. This reinforces our commitment to the biennial Ocular Pathology Review Course held in Montreal, in August 2019, with an impressive national and international faculty as well as a record attendance of national and international participants.

My Monterrey experience was enhanced tremendously by the hospitality of Dr Jorge Valdez. I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful hospital and campuses of the university and I was very impressed with the open concept of the buildings reflecting a modern and inclusive mentality. My last evening was dedicated to an unforgettable experience: Dr. Guillermo Torre Amione, the Rector of the university who is a cardiologist, interviewed me in front of an audience composed of students and staff at the university, the questions and answers were recorded and transmitted via teleconference to a larger audience. This wonderful intellectual exercise is part of the program Giants of Medicine.

I am committed to ocular pathology teaching more than ever after this fantastic experience in Monterrey.

With affection and admiration,


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

PAAO President