1.1 To provide clinical ophthalmic training and education of the highest international standard to ophthalmologists, fellows, and residents in APAO® member nations through APAO® Visiting Scholars.
1.2 It is hoped that through this program, continuing collaborative opportunities in both clinical ophthalmic services and training, as well as in research, could be fully explored, with the aim of helping the advancement of ophthalmic expertise in the host nation.
1.3 The APAO® Visiting Scholar Program (APAO® VSP) adheres to the global initiative ‘Vision 2020’ in terms of spreading education and professionalism to all parts of the world and promoting international collaboration between institutions dedicated to eye care.
1.4 Optional: To provide a platform for APAO® Office Bearers to meet members of hosting ophthalmic societies, with the aim of introducing APAO® programs and new initiatives, and understanding the needs and expectations of member societies.
2. APAO® Visiting Scholars & the APAO® Ophthalmic Education Standing Committee
2.1 To achieve these ambitious aims, the APAO® will proactively invite international leading experts with good international reputation and expertise needed by APAO® member nations to participate in the program.
2.2 The success of the APAO® VSP depends, to a very large extent, on the quality of the teaching programs presented by the APAO® Visiting Scholars. APAO® Visiting Scholars should preferably have:
2.2.1 Affiliation with an internationally-acclaimed eye institute or university;
2.2.2 Over 50 publications in indexed, peer-reviewed journals in the field of expertise;
2.2.3 An H-index of over 20;
2.2.4 Excellent clinical experience, and renowned surgical skills where applicable.
2.3 Jointly with the APAO® Member Society, APAO® Visiting Scholars are expected to organize a 3- to 5-day training program comprising didactic lectures, grand rounds with case presentations, seminars, and possibly surgical sessions, etc. in the member nation.
2.4 The APAO® Ophthalmic Education Standing Committee will proactively invite international leading experts to organize an APAO® VSP in member nations with specific service needs, which are less well positioned to benefit directly from the existing APAO® educational programs and congresses.
2.5 Individuals interested to become APAO® Visiting Scholars are also welcome to submit a proposed teaching program outline, along with their curriculum vitae, to the APAO® Central Secretariat via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The APAO® Ophthalmic Education Standing Committee will review the qualifications of the applicants and the quality of the proposed teaching program, to see if these could meet the specific needs of APAO® member nations.
2.6 Optional: Where appropriate, an APAO® Office Bearer (President, Secretary-General, President-Elect, Vice-President, Treasurer, Deputy Secretary-General) may visit the hosting member society with the APAO® Visiting Scholar during the training program, with the aim of introducing APAO® programs and new initiatives, and understanding the needs and expectations of member societies.
3. Secretariat Support
3.1 The APAO® Central Secretariat will regularly review and identify the specific clinical needs in member nations through the member societies and regional secretaries.
3.2 The APAO® Central Secretariat may seek recommendations from the APAO® member subspecialty societies of international leading experts who possess the expertise and technical know-how needed by the APAO® member nations.
4. The Program
4.1 Up to 2 Visiting Scholar Programs may be organized annually.
4.1.1 In the first year, only 1 Visiting Scholar Program will be organized. The inaugural program will be thoroughly reviewed for effectiveness and possible improvements, before we proceed to organize the following program in the second year.
4.2 APAO® member societies or nations with specific service needs, which are less well positioned to benefit directly from the existing APAO® educational programs and congresses, receive higher priority. Priorities will also be given to APAO®‘s member nations whose GDP is ranked lower than 100 by the International Monetary Fund in the respective year.
4.3 The APAO® Ophthalmic Education Standing Committee will work closely with the Visiting Scholars and APAO® member society to work out a teaching program that will target the needs of the selected member nation.
4.4 The APAO® Central Secretariat will proactively liaise with member societies in the member nations to ensure successful skill transfers. The APAO® Central Secretariat will also make sure that the learning and education needs in the member nations are met.
4.5 Optional: The APAO® Central Secretariat will make arrangements with the hosting member nation for the visiting APAO® Office Bearer, where applicable, to meet the members of the hosting ophthalmic society. The visiting APAO® Office Bearer should also present ophthalmic lecture(s) in a clinical subspecialty where he / she has expertise and experience, and which is an area of need expressed by the hosting member society. Whenever possible, the visiting APAO® Office Bearer should be from a country close to the hosting nation.
5. Member Societies
5.1 APAO® member societies are to complete a questionnaire devised by the Central Secretariat to inform us of their national clinical and educational needs.
5.2 They are to provide the Central Secretariat with rates of blindness and visual impairment in the nations, information about the leading causes of blindness, as well as relevant demographic and socio-economic data.
5.3 Member societies should inform the Central Secretariat of any major changes, particularly in local clinical needs and priorities.
5.3 Member societies should work closely with the APAO® Central Secretariat in organizing and coordinating the Visiting Scholar Program, through their Regional Secretaries.
6. Financial Arrangements
6.1 The APAO® Central Secretariat will provide the Visiting Scholar with a roundtrip economy ticket in the form of reimbursement (up to US$2,500 per Visiting Scholar), and a stipend of US$2,500, upon completion of the program.
6.2 Optional: Where applicable, the APAO® Central Secretariat will provide the visiting APAO® Office Bearer with a roundtrip economy ticket in the form of reimbursement (up to US$1,500 per trip). No stipend or honorarium will be provided to the APAO® Office Bearer.
6.3 Campus accommodation or equivalent is to be provided by the local hosting member society.
6.4 The cost ceiling per Visiting Scholar Program is therefore US$6,500.
6.5 With up to 2 Visiting Scholar Programs per year initially, the maximum financial implication to APAO® Central Secretariat would be US$13,000 per year.
6.6 The APAO® Central Secretariat will proactively seek corporate financial support for the APAO® VSP, with the aim of wholly supporting this program through external corporate funding. Each Visiting Scholar Program will only be launched when sufficient external funding has been secured.
6.7 Our corporate partners will be invited to sponsor the whole or part of the overall APAO® Visiting Scholar Program, but not the specific programs of individual Visiting Scholars.