Characterizing transnational ophthalmic surgical partnerships by engagement and training.

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To characterize ophthalmic partnerships between high-income country (HIC) and low- and middle-income country (LMIC) stakeholders to better understand and address international disparities in ophthalmic surgical care.An international Web search was conducted to identify surgeons, foundations, or organizations participating in ophthalmic delivery and/or capacity building from 2010-2019. Partnerships were defined through clinical activities, education and training, and/or research support. Descriptive data on current ophthalmic partnerships were collected from published reports, literature reviews, and information on stakeholder webpages. Partnerships were classified by the extent of engagement and training: grade I ‘engagement’ represented documented partnerships of at least 1 years and grade I ‘training’ limited or poorly defined skills transfer programs, while grade III ‘engagement’ represented partnerships with well-documented fiscal investment and/or research productivity and grade III “training” established training programs. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and geospatially depicted on Tableau (Mountain View, CA) and ArcMap software (Redlands, CA).In total, 209 unique HIC – LMIC partnerships encompassing 92 unique countries were described. The most common HIC partners were from North America (123; 59%), followed by Europe (75; 36%). The most common LMIC partners were from Africa (103; 49%), followed by Asia-Pacific (54; 26%) and Latin America (44; 21%). Additionally, partnerships most frequently provided services in cataract (48%), glaucoma (25%), and diabetic retinopathy (25%). The most common ‘Engagement’ classifications were grade I (35%) or II (39%); the most common “Training” classifications were grade I (61%) or II (23%).Transnational ophthalmic partnerships exist with varying degrees of both engagement and training. Research collaboration and direct services are two current areas of partnership strength, while LMIC-directed training programs need improvement relative to other surgical fields. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Authors: Daniel J Olivieri, Zane Z Yu, Geoffrey C Tabin, Raba Thapa, Paul B Greenberg