PAAO President’s Message

June 2022

Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD
PAAO President, 2022-2025

Dear Pan-American friends,

With great pride, I participated as a speaker and guest of honor at the Argentine National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, held at the Hilton Puerto Madero Hotel from May 31 to June 3, 2022, a beautiful event that marked the return of face-to-face events after the COVID 19 pandemic. There were almost 3,000 people eager to enjoy socializing with friends and networking that only a face-to-face event can offer.

I had the pleasure of meeting old friends (such as Javier Casiraghi, Pablo Daponte, Julio Manzitti, Ernesto Ferrer, Roberto Ebner, Pablo Chiaradia, Josefina Botta and many others) and making new ones. Among them, the current president of the Argentine Council of Ophthalmology, Dr. Juan S. Rivero. As president of the Argentine Council of Ophthalmology, Juan has been investing in educational innovations for young ophthalmologists, with the goal of permanent environmental awareness. Here are some of his positions and words.


Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD
PAAO President



PD: I witnessed, with admiration and amazement, the organization of the CNO 2022. How was the early organization of the event in such unstable times?

JSR: First of all, Paulo, thank you for your presence and warmth, we had a great time at CNO22. Our congress was an event that was conceived as the “congress of all”, where all the scientific and provincial societies that make up the CAO were invited to participate. From the beginning of its planning, we knew that we had to innovate since the pandemic showed us that the theoretical concepts and master classes are all already on the web. So, we had to give ophthalmologists reasons to attend and witness a congress that offered something different from the traditional. That is why we think of the concept of skills transfer as the axis of work: take skills from the CNO22 and not just theoretical knowledge. So, we launched two work premises: the concepts presented in classes and talks had to have a purely practical focus, they had to answer: how do I do it? How do I diagnose it? Practical tips for procedures, etc. and on the other hand, we developed two activities that were extremely successful: the first, the practical part of skills transfer with Bioniko artificial eyes in microscope stations, use of diagnostic instruments such as OCT, topographers, lasers applied to artificial eyes, examination of premature infants in incubators, sutures, phaco emiliano airplane, corneal transplant, and many more activities… the second was the workshops, where a small group of people addressed issues based on clinical cases presented by young people where the experts helped to solve and develop practical diagnostic thinking and Especially useful for young people. It was a challenge to think of this congress in a short time and with the instability that the pandemic still brings, but even so we are extremely happy for the success it had.

Juan Sebastian Rivero Dr. Juan S. Rivero, from the province of Córdoba, is medical director of Oftalmo Medicina Ocular. He is a former president of the Córdoba Ophthalmology Society (SOC). His profile as a surgeon is complemented by his business experience, which for years has found him taking part in the joint design of organizational strategies. He has always integrated multidisciplinary teams and has managed to lead most of them, trying to transmit, through his teaching, his conception of work as enjoyment. President, Argentine Council of Ophthalmology Office: Oftalmo Medicina Ocular, Rafael Lozada 212, Alta Gracia, Cordoba 5186, Argentina Phone: (54-3547) 421-227 / (54-351) 573-1111 email: [email protected]  |

Juan S. Rivero and Paulo Dantas at CNO22

PD: Tell us a little about CAO POSITIVO?
JSR: CAO+ is the result of a job we carried out at the beginning of our management where we decided to reorganize the activities carried out by the CAO into new work teams. Thus, several teams were created that address the different areas where the CAO has always been present: education, research, planning, communication, human resources, and social action. We also decided to work with sustainability as an axis in the Organization and as we know it speaks of the triple impact: environmental, economic, and social. Thus, the idea of a new look at the CAO from this position arises and it seemed to us a positive way to achieve an impact and exercise awareness in Argentine colleagues. If the organization sets the example, the partners must also do so… we think that this position will have that impact and place us in a new state of greater responsibility when thinking about our fees, our waste and attitude towards the environment and our impact in the community. It is an ambitious project that will surely go a long way.
  PD: Any chance of having this philosophy in the 2023 Pan American Congress that will be in conjunction with the CAO? JSR: CNO22 was the launch of CAO+ where we tried to make a sustainable event with some actions such as measuring the carbon footprint left by the event, replacement with reforestation in the “CAO Forest”, activities with foundations on recycling plastics with the Foundation Garrahan, blind people who offered massages to the attendees (Fundación en Buenas Manos) and change traditional gifts for meaningful gifts. Healthy food was offered, and a sustainability symposium was held where we began to talk about it with our colleagues. An electric motorcycle was also raffled as a gift. Sponsors were asked to reduce the offer of printed material as much as possible, replacing it with videos and QR codes to show their products. The credentials were also made of recycled paper. This new way of organizing events can also be developed for the 2023 Pan American Congress if the PAAO requests it, since the CAO as host can continue on this same axis that had such a good impact on the attendees.   PD: What are your expectations for our joint event in 2023? JSR: I think it will be a great event and probably the most attended of all the PAAO congresses. During the CNO22 we only saw smiling faces and the happiness of the reunion in the attendees. The international call that has been made, the fantastic venue chosen, the beautiful city of Buenos Aires and the possibility of developing activities similar to CNO22 can make this congress a historic congress for PAAO that we will remember for a long time.
We ophthalmologists must work together to strengthen our profession and redefine the course after this pandemic.

PD: What is your message for the Pan American Congress?

JSR: I ask colleagues from all over the Americas to reach out to their national institutions. We ophthalmologists must work together to strengthen our profession and redefine the course after this pandemic. Undoubtedly, meeting at the Pan American 2023 will be another occasion for this and to once again enjoy the pleasure of sharing knowledge.