Innovative "Pay It Forward" Training Program for Specialty Eye Surgeons

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Sept. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Refractive Surgery Alliance (RSA), a global professional organization of leading eye surgeons, announced today the creation of a new and innovative training program for vision correction surgeons.

The RSA program structure is unique and recognizes the expanding and rapidly evolving field of vision correction surgery, also known as "refractive surgery." Instead of training surgeons under a single preceptor's guidance at one site over one year, the RSA program incorporates a network of training sites that follow a standardized curriculum over two years. Fellows spend 9 months per year at their home site and rotate for up to three months a year at other sites in the RSA network, and they participate in didactic Conclaves and ABO board prep programs as a group. The curriculum includes clinical and surgical training, as well as training in technology, innovation, research, teaching, business and leadership.

The RSA Fellowship Network is the product of months of development by a team of highly qualified refractive surgeons, led by Helen Wu, MD of Tufts University, Dan Durrie, MD of Durrie Vision in Kansas City, Kansas, and RSA Founder Guy Kezirian, MD, MBA of Scottsdale, Arizona.

"The Networks' investment in each Fellowship is significant. Fellows will be compensated with six-figure salaries, plus significant program benefits, which is considerably higher than traditional ophthalmology fellows. To make the program sustainable, graduating Fellows fulfill a 3-year service commitment at an RSA Affiliated Practice at the end of the Fellowship. They are compensated at full market rate for a refractive surgeon during this time, even while paying-it-forward to fund the next set of fellows," said Guy Kezirian, MD, MBA. "Accelerating growth in all segments of the refractive surgery market makes this model very attractive for everyone. We believe that the combination of training and job placement is the best way to ensure success."

"This program represents a significant departure from the status quo," said Greg Parkhurst, MD, RSA President. "We started with the question: What would a training program look like if the goal was to produce the highest skilled refractive surgeons in the world, and position them to lead the field for the next generation? The result was a completely new program."

"Refractive surgery goes well beyond LASIK," said Helen Wu, MD program Chairperson. "The scope includes all forms of corneal and lens based refractive procedures--LASIK, Surface Ablation, SMILE, Corneal Inlays, Refractive Lens Exchange, Cataract Refractive Surgery, Phakic IOLs and Corneal Strengthening Procedures - as well the as medical management of refractive errors in adolescents. The skills needed to practice refractive surgery at a high level require time to develop. Fellows are expected to perform over 1,000 procedures during their two-year Fellowship."

The RSA fellowship program incorporates programs that it has provided for its members since 2014:

  • The "RSA Foundations" technical courses equip surgeons to actively participate in innovation and are led by Michael Mrochen, PhD, a leading ophthalmic scientist and innovator.
  • Clinical didactics are taught in a variety of "RSA Solutions" programs such as that offered by Dan Reinstein, MD of the London Vision Clinic.
  • Business and leadership training is provided through the acclaimed PHYSICIAN CEO® program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

"The PHYSICIAN CEO® program is a game changer," said Dan Durrie, MD. "I took it myself in 2017. It transforms physicians into confident leaders."

The curriculum for the RSA Fellowship Network will be overseen by the newly formed College of Refractive Surgery, which oversees curriculum and accreditation for training in refractive surgery for surgeons and ancillary personnel. The College of Refractive Surgeons is independent from the RSA.

Applications for the July 2019 RSA Fellowship Network will open in mid-September 2018. The application process will be highly selective. RSA Fellows will be selected and notified by early December, outside and before the match. Information will be posted on the RSA website at

Curriculum Committee

Chairperson: Helen K. Wu, MD - USA


  • Dan Durrie, MD - USA
  • Guy Kezirian, MD, MBA - USA

Committee Members

  • Y. Ralph Chu, MD - USA
  • Arthur Cummings, MD - IRELAND
  • Matthew Hammond, MD - USA
  • Lance Kugler, MD - USA
  • Nicole Lemanski, MD - USA
  • Jennifer Loh, MD - USA
  • Matthias Maus, MD - GERMANY
  • Michael Mrochen, PhD - SWITZERLAND
  • R. Luke Rebenitsch, MD - USA
  • Greg Parkhurst, MD - USA
  • Dan Reinstein, MD - UNITED KINGDOM
  • Jeffrey Robin, MD - USA
  • Julie Schallhorn, MD - USA
  • William Trattler, MD - USA
  • Aaron Waite, MD - USA
  • William Wiley, MD - USA
  • Blake Williamson, MD - USA
  • Roger Zaldivar, MD - ARGENTINA

About the Refractive Surgery Alliance

The Refractive Surgery Alliance a professional organization formed in early 2014 by leading refractive surgeons from the US and Europe. It is member supported and does not accept vendor or manufacturer funds. The mission of the RSA is to increase access to refractive surgery through education, research and industry leadership. Membership is open to all qualified refractive surgeons. For more information, please visit


Mary Keefe
Telephone: 480-664-1800

If you would like more information, please contact Mary Keefe at +1.602.549.5609 /

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SOURCE Refractive Surgery Alliance

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