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, and by 2014, she finished her PhD program. However, 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 in the region, Dr. Xiao referred Dr. Gao to HelpMeSee for training in cataract surgery. Before long, Dr. Gao traveled to Chitrakoot, India, where HelpMeSee’s partner hospital Sadguru Netra Chikitsalaya (SNC) provided training in the Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS).
After a few months of study and training alongside surgeons at SNC, Dr. Gao was ready to put her surgical skills to the test. At the end of Dr. Gao’s training, HelpMeSee’s medical officer Dr. Ranjit Maniar 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 another 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.
Dr. Gao performs anesthesia on a patient prior to cataract surgery in Jinghua Eye Hospital in Shandong Province, China.
Recently, 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 Medical Officer for China, she was able to receive surgical training. With support from HelpMeSee’s simulation-based training program to teach the large scale of surgical specialists needed around the world, Dr. Gao may soon be among the thousands providing treatment across China.