Josh Anderson, is Head, U.S. Surgical Retina at Alcon Laboratories. He is responsible for leading the U.S. Vitreoretinal Sales and Marketing organizations. He has close to 20 years of experience in the industry across pharmaceutical and medical devices. We asked him about the inaugural program of the Alcon Retina Fellows Institute that took place in November. The annual event, held at The Alcon Experience Center in Fort Worth, aims to provide eyecare professionals with education, hands-on learning and cutting-edge virtual reality technology.

Joanne Marchitelli: What was the inspiration for the Alcon Retina Fellows Institute?

Josh Anderson: As part of our commitment to education of eyecare professionals, we launched the Alcon Retina Fellows Institute to host fellows and facilitate training of future surgeons through many of the best teachers within the retina field.

JM: How did it come about?

JA: Resources are limited within most fellows training courses nationwide. Our goal for the Alcon Retina Fellows Institute was to design an experiential surgical training program that would optimize hands-on time with technology and provide an optimum ratio of fellows to faculty, providing best-in-class instruction.

JM: What are the short-term and long-term goals of the program?

JA: We want to continue to partner with the experts in surgical retina to train future leaders. Alcon is committed to the long-term education of surgeons and providing them with world-class technology to assist them in delivering the best possible care for their patients.

JM: How were the 40 participants selected?

JA: We encouraged first-year fellows to register for the program at academic institutions through Alcon representatives and via social media.

JM: Will different professionals be invited to attend next year, or will this year’s attendees be able to return next year?

JA: In the spirit of providing the best possible experience for fellows, we are currently evaluating the training needs for 2019. After understanding the needs, we will put together a world-class faculty with recognized leaders to provide first-class training. We will invite those instructors who are leaders in that specific discipline within surgical retina to help teach. We will likely have a combination of returning and new fellows participating in a 2019 Alcon Retina Fellows Institute.

JM: Which types of surgical trainings were held during this year’s program?

JA: Hands-on sessions included: Vit probe surgery, optimizing fluidics, ERM and ILM surgical techniques, techniques for independent surgery, 3D surgical visualization, scrub technician practicum, SiO and PFO management, optimizing 25g and 27g surgery, and ergonomics and OR set up.

JM: Are there specific trainings you would like to see presented in future programs?

JA: Alcon will continue to partner with the surgical retina community to understand the current and future needs for their fellows and be able to offer hands-on trainings by bridging gaps in education and experience, to ultimately enhance patient outcomes.

JM: Do you have plans to expand the program in the Alcon Experience Center locations around the world?

JA: We are looking at how to best expand this concept around the world. It will be important to help each region create and execute a program that addresses specific needs in the area.


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