Volunteer Retina Specialists for #BOLDR project

Dr Suber Huang examining a patient

Thank you for your interest in the project. We invite qualified retinal specialists to volunteer their time for the #BOLDR project.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):


What is the duration of each of these trips?

Currently, each trip lasts 4-5 days of work. You may extend the trip to travel around Bolivia. Or you could go for a shorter trip if your schedule does not permit it. We can also consider a longer program (e.g. one month) if you have the time and motivation.


What am I supposed to do while I am in Cochabamba?

During the trip, you will be involved in the following:

  • Examine patients at various clinics in the city
  • Provide laser procedures and injections (when available)
  • Perform retinal surgical procedures
  • Teach ophthalmologists and ophthalmology residents in the clinic and in OR
  • Train and supervise ophthalmologists in lasers, injections and steps in surgical procedures
  • Go on an outreach mission visit within the city or on the outskirts, to examine patients and provide lasers (if machine available)
  • Deliver didactic lectures as part of our certification course that provides educational material to ophthalmologists and general practitioners
  • Be part of any administrative meeting that requires your presence as a representative of Retina Global


Who covers for medical liability?

Most liability policies cover such international mission trips where you evaluate patients and perform procedures for free. Please check with your current insurance provider. If your policy does not cover such a mission trip, you may have to apply for short term medical liability insurance.


Who do we work with in Cochabamba?

Fundación Boliviana de Oftalmología (FBO) is our host institution. But we also work with other ophthalmologists and organizations. Also, the Sociedad Boliviana de Oftalmología (Bolivian Society of Ophthalmology) and Sociedad Boliviana de Retina (Bolivian Retina Society) support this project.

Patients will be pre-screened before the visit and you will, in majority of instances, see patients with retinal issues alone. Occasionally, the local doctors may request your help with some other conditions.


How frequently will I need to go?

As part of the project, you do not have to go frequently. You can choose your own schedule and go just once a year, or if time permits, choose to go more often as per your convenience.


Do I have to pay for the trip?

No, you do not pay for going on this mission trip, since you are volunteering your precious time and expertise for the good of the people of Cochabamba and Bolivia. As a policy, Retina Global will support and bear all costs that specifically relate to your visit to Cochabamba.


But occasionally, due to operational constraints, we may not be able to provide reimbursements for the trip – in which case, you could also consider the following: (1) paying your own way for the trip if you wish, (2) raising donations to Retina Global in your name from family and friends, or (3) raise money via crowdfunding on platforms such as GoFundMe.com, Kickstarer or IndieGoGo. As a 501(c)(3) organization, donations to Retina Global provide for tax benefits to the donor as per the law in the United States.


Will I be representing my practice or institution while I am in Cochabamba?

No. You will be a volunteer representative of Retina Global during your time on the trip. You will have to sign on a legal agreement/waiver with Retina Global before you make any arrangements for the trip.


Do you also perform clinical and epidemiological research as part of the project?

Yes we do. As part of this project, we are developing guidelines for DR screening for Bolivia and the region – this work is being undertaken with the association and help of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmologists (PAAO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). The current work includes a prevalence study and evaluations from the clinical data that we are collecting as part of the project.


Are fellows and ophthalmology residents allowed on this trip?

Yes, we do allow fellows and residents to go on these mission trips, but they should have a qualified retina specialist on the trip with them as a mentor. Independent and unsupervised work by Fellows and Residents is not allowed on these mission trips.


What do the Fellows and Residents gain from such trips?

Past experience and studies undertaken to evaluate the outcomes of mission trips on training have indicated that such trips have a positive educational influence on a participant’s knowledge, skills, and attitude. In addition, these missions allow the residents to develop as physicians and surgeons, as well as improve their awareness of global health care and cultural competence, providing a unique understanding of the global burden of disease that may not be too apparent in their own centers of training, as well as a deeper appreciation for global public health issues. That apart, it gives you a chance to travel to a new and wonderful place, and to experience amazing food and culture.


I have decided to go on this trip. What do I do next?

Thank you for willing to be on this mission trip on behalf of Retina Global.

To begin with, we need your CV/Resume, with names and contact details (phone and email IDs) of two retina specialists who can vouch for your clinical and surgical skills. Please send the CV/Resume to info@retinaglobal.org.

  • Once we receive your CV, we will set up a short call with you to understand your requirements and get clarity on the dates you will likely travel.
  • Based on the above, we can send you the paperwork to begin the formal process for the trip.
  • Once you sign the paperwork, you can start making travel arrangements, while we work with our local partners to organize the clinics, ORs, teaching/training sessions, outreach mission and lectures.


I do not yet know my schedule. Is there a way for me to register for the project?

Yes, you can. Please register on our website here. Or just send us an email, to info@retinaglobal.org, mentioning your desire to go on the project. We will remain in touch with you as you finalize your schedule.


We look forward to hearing from you.