In 2013, I was lucky to be part of the first generation to receive the scholarship from the Pan-American Society of Oculoplastics (SOPANOP) and the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO), sponsored by Allergan, to go for one month in an internationally prestigious center of oculoplastics in the United States or Europe for advanced oculoplastics training for young ophthalmologists.
I chose to go to Paris, France, to study under Dr. Michel Tazartes because his training as an oculoplastic and craniofacial surgeon would open up a huge panorama for me to treat various diseases through complex procedures that are not frequently performed in my country. I knew that the great humanitarian quality of my mentor would complete my experience of professional and individual growth in an unparalleled way.
My experience in France started a year before with an intensive French course that I interspersed with my family activities, teaching at the Instituto de Oftalmología Conde de Valenciana, administrative work as secretary of the Mexican Association of Orbit, Eyelid and Tear Drop Surgery and professional work in my recently established private practice.
The rotation that was initially planned to be just one month. But I extended it a little more because it was just as I had imagined it: I was able to be with Michel and a team of high quality plastic and oculoplastic surgeons that always made me feel welcome, who taught me a lot and who opened the doors for me in all senses. I got to know a health and hospital system different from those of our continent and the Parisian lifestyle so particular of enjoying life.
In retrospect, I can say that this experience gave me the confidence to try things differently and made me a more skilled and confident surgeon. I would recommend this experience to all the graduates of an oculoplastic program who can and want to take a moment after the intensity of formal fellowships to open their minds, learn different things and return to their countries more motivated and armed to improve the health and quality of life of their patients.
I thank SOPANOP, the PAAO and Allergan for this wonderful opportunity.
From Left to right: Dr. Gerardo Graue-Moreno MD, Professor Michel Tazartes MD , Dr Julian Bowmendil MD.