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Clinical Curriculum


The first year is spent building a base of patient care skills. The PGY1 year will begin with rotations in:

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Trauma
  • Plastic Surgery
  • ENT
  • Dermatology
  • General Surgery
  • and at the VA Hospital in White River Junction, VT

The final three months will be spent in Ophthalmology learning ophthalmology examination and testing skills, office procedures, and introduction to the operating room. After passing the accelerated Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) Ophthalmic Technician Skills Training Course, residents will refine their skills in faculty specialty clinics, assist in the operating room, start the surgical simulator curriculum, and join faculty on call.


The second year is spent primarily in resident clinic. The goal is for the resident to establish a cohort of outpatients whom they will follow for all three years. There is close supervision of resident clinic encounters; the faculty members each supervise one or more sessions regularly, every week, allowing certain days of the week to take on a subspecialty flavor. Second-year residents will see pediatric patients one day every week upstairs in the pediatric eye clinic. Second-year residents will develop extensive experience in performing office laser and minor surgical procedures, and will be introduced to OR procedures. Residents will attend the pathology and optics portion of the Lancaster Course at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.


The third year is spent in three four-month blocks working on faculty services learning subspecialty ophthalmology. Residents will work up patients in the faculty subspecialty referral practices and participate in the management of complex problems. As well, third-year residents will assist faculty in the OR, with increasing surgical involvement as competence increases. Third-year residents will continue to see their own patients in resident clinic one day per week. During this year, residents will also attend a two-week pathology and refractive surgery rotation at Mass Eye and Ear (MEE). This rotation also includes a proctored wetlab at the Mass Eye and Ear surgical simulation center. Third-year residents will attend the annual MEE spring cataract surgery course.


Fourth-year residents spend alternating three-month blocks working in the ophthalmology service at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in White River Junction, VT, and serve as Chief Resident at DHMC. The VA has a general ophthalmology service, a large portion of which is dedicated to cataract care. There are two staff ophthalmologists at the VA and a visiting retina specialist. The goal of the resident rotation at the VA is to care for the veteran ophthalmology population, performing a significant volume of cataract surgery under the direct supervision of the VA faculty. At DHMC, the fourth-year resident serves as chief of the Resident Clinic and is the primary advisor of the junior residents. The Chief Resident performs all surgery (within his/her capability) generated from resident clinic and performs all hospital consultations (with faculty supervision). Finally, the Chief Resident is expected to help administer the residency in appropriate ways, such as initial adjudication of resident concerns over scheduling, call, and conference assignments.

Senior residents will be given time and funding to attend the American Academy of Ophthalmology conference and have time away for job or fellowship interviews.

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