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Pritzker News

M AT C H DAY 2 0 1 6

Envisioning their future BY GRETCHEN RUBIN

U PHOTO BY NANCY WONG

Megan Silas, MS4, and Blake Williams, MS4, are among 21 members of Pritzker’s Class of 2016 who will be staying at the University of Chicago Medicine for all or part of their training. After completing their intern year, both will return to campus as ophthalmology residents.

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nlike the rest of their fourth-year classmates, Blake Williams and Megan Silas knew where they would be training for their specialty well before Match Day. And they were thrilled with the news. When the Ophthalmology Residency Matching Program released its results in mid-January, Williams and Silas each received a congratulatory call from Kathryn Colby, MD, PhD, Louis Block Professor and chair of the newly reestablished Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Chicago.

“Blake and Megan are both highly qualified and have shown a dedication to ophthalmology,” said Colby, who joined UChicago in 2015. “And coming from the Pritzker School of Medicine, they were top candidates.” Williams grew up in a family of ophthalmologists (both parents and his grandfather). But it wasn’t until his third year, when he spent two weeks of his surgery rotation in ophthalmology, that he was sure he wanted to pursue the field. “I especially love the surgeries and procedures,” Williams said. “For example, cataract surgery is quick and curative and makes a dramatic improvement in a patient’s quality of life.”

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICINE AND BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES DIVISION

Silas wasn’t considering going into the specialty until she “stumbled upon” the opportunity to do a two-week rotation in ophthalmology during her third year. “I already liked surgery, medicine and pediatrics,” she said, “but I thought ophthalmology sounded cool and we hadn’t learned much about the eye in medical school.” The rotation was an eye opener. Silas found herself drawn to the long-term doctor-patient relationships, the fast and tangible changes an eye doctor can make in a patient’s well-being and the technical aspects of the exams and the procedures. She signed on for an additional rotation. Both medical students conducted ophthalmologic research during their third and fourth years. Silas worked on a project examining pre-operative antisepsis that was recently published in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. Williams’ study of intraocular pressure in patients receiving intravitreal injections was presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2015 annual meeting. The classmates each interviewed for other residency programs, but often talked of hoping to stay at the University of Chicago Medicine. Both were impressed by the ophthalmology residents and faculty. Meeting Colby and hearing her vision for rebuilding the department sealed the deal for Williams. “Dr. Colby is recruiting new faculty and expanding clinic and operating room volumes,” Williams said. “And she is focused on training residents and fellows in a collaborative, happy environment.” Silas is just as excited about starting her training in the new department. “I feel like I will grow by staying at the University of Chicago,” she said. “And it feels like home to me.” Before starting the three-year ophthalmology residency program, Silas will spend her intern year at MacNeal Hospital in west suburban Berwyn, Illinois, and Williams matched at Presence Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago. So there was a little suspense for them on Match Day after all.

Profile for University of Chicago Medicine

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