When Dr. Min Gao first began studying ophthalmology, she dreamed of becoming an independent surgeon who could help restore sight to people in China. In 2006, Dr. Gao started her career working at Beijing Chaotan Hospital. By 2014, she finished her Ph.D. program. When she graduated, Dr. Gao joined the backlog of over 18,000 ophthalmologists in China, waiting for training to perform cataract surgery.
Fortunately for Dr. Gao, her supervisor, Dr. Xiao, took notice of her initiative and served as her mentor. As one of HelpMeSee’s volunteer surgeons at the time, Dr. Xiao referred Dr. Gao for cataract surgery training. Before long, Dr. Gao traveled to Chitrakoot, India, where the hospital Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya (SNC) provided instruction in Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS).
After a few months of study alongside surgeons at SNC, Dr. Gao was ready to put her surgical skills to the test. At the end of Dr. Gao’s training, a HelpMeSee Medical Officer evaluated her surgical training and assessed that she had gained enough skills to begin treating cataract patients.
With new skills and experience, Dr. Gao returned to China to continue her training under supervision from her mentor, Dr. Xiao. Working side-by-side, Dr. Gao completed 250 sight-restoring surgeries under Dr. Xiao’s expert eye. Both doctors joined HelpMeSee’s campaign to restore sight in a rural region of Shandong Province, where they helped restore sight to 67 more people. With this training, Dr. Gao has achieved her dream to become an independent surgeon!
“I am now in a position to make a difference in a meaningful way, I should thank my hospital, my supervisor, thank HelpMeSee and all the other people who have helped me.”
Dr. Gao is one of the thousands of ophthalmologists in China who need surgical training to treat cataract blindness. She knows she is fortunate because the demand for training surpasses the capacity, even though China has many patients awaiting treatment for cataracts.
Thanks to her mentor Dr. Xiao, who has since joined HelpMeSee as the Medical Officer for China, she was able to receive surgical training. Dr. Gao will be among the thousands providing treatment across China.