FOCUS has a long colorful history in Global Ophthalmology. Founded in 1961 by three Chicago area ophthalmologists; Dr. James McDonald, Dr. Art Light, and Dr. Thomas Stamm. The initial missions were to Haiti and their amazing stories are well chronicled in the ebook “Focus in Haiti”. In the early 1970s the organization expanded its outreach to Nigeria and and continued to operate for many years under the leadership of Dr. Marilyn Miller. In 2019 the leadership of FOCUS began to transition to the next generation of ophthalmologists with the addition of Dr. Daniel Alter, Dr. Matthew Thompson, and Dr. William Myers to the executive board. We hope to inspire the next generation of visiting and local ophthalmologists to advance eye care in Haiti and the developing world.
THE EXECUTIVE TEAM
Dr. Dan Alter M.D. Ph.D. -President of FOCUS
Daniel Alter is a practicing retina specialist in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He spearheaded the training and equipping of the first two retina specialists in Haiti through multiple visits to Port au Prince and Cap Haitien and recruitment of other visiting training teams. He has led efforts to reinvigorate the Eye Clinic and Ophthalmology Residency Program in Port au Prince, Haiti at the State Hospital through. His efforts have been awarded by the SEE International Humanitarian of the Year Award, 2017. He was recognized by the Haitian Society of Ophthalmology for his dedication and is a regular speaker at their yearly conference. Dan is on the University of Illinois Global Ophthalmology Faculty and involved in the development of the new Global Ophthalmology Fellowship Program. He believes improvements in eye care in Haiti are best achieved by direct personal involvement with Haitian doctors and encouragement of international eye care organizations to get more involved.
Dr. William G. Myers M.D. Executive Board Member
William G. Myers, M.D. was previously a private practice ophthalmologist in the Chicago area for over 35 years. He is an assistant professor at the Department of Ophthalmology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine where he completed his residency. He has subsequently taught and mentored residents in cataract surgery over the past 40 years. He currently mentors resident cataract surgeons of Northwestern and the University of Illinois at the Jesse Brown VA in Chicago. He has been a lead speaker at the annual Resident and Advanced Phacoemulsification Courses at Northwestern since their inception, giving him additional exposure to other best surgical teachers in the United States. Dr. Myers created the Northwestern Ophthalmology Ambulatory Surgery Mentorship Program in 2002. He has trained over 40 resident ophthalmologists in surgical center performed procedures.
His research interests include ocular pharmacology and antisepsis for surgery. He has been the principal instructor in a course, “Better Surgery Through Chemicals” that he developed, bringing together the leading experts from around the world. He is sought after by international conferences on these topics, most recently in Madurai, Bangkok and Barcelona. In addition he is on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, the moderator for the ASCRS eyeConnect listserv, and the Haiti administrator with the International Division of the ASCRS Foundation, a supporter of FOCUS’s efforts in Haiti. Bringing together NGOs working in Haiti to build the Haitian Ophthalmic System, especially at the Haitian residency at HUEH is a current project. He has taught many residents in small incision cataract surgery (SICS) and recently spent 2 months at Aravind Institute of Postgraduate Education in India teaching and training other global ophthalmology trainees in SICS and working with LAICO in development of vision care systems in the developing world.
Dr. Matt Thompson M.D. Executive Board Member
Dr. Matt Thompson began volunteering internationally in 2013. In 2017 he teamed up with Dan and FOCUS to work on improving the education of the residents at the State Hospital in Haiti. While in Haiti Matt primarily works on surgical education and the care of children, especially those with complicated eye disease. Matt is an associate professor at the University of Illinois Chicago working with the International ophthalmology fellow and the Medical College of Wisconsin Green Bay working with the medical students in Green Bay. He is the recipient of multiple certificates stating that he was nominated for awards that he did not win. He lives in Green Bay Wisconsin with his wife and three children and practices at Tower Clock Eye Center.