In what is considered the largest eye care event in Grenada’s history, the School of Medicine’s Division of Ophthalmology, in conjunction with the SGU-Physician Humanitarian Network (SGU-PHuN), recently performed a 14-day clinic with six visiting surgeons equipped with specialized ophthalmic micro-surgical instruments, and three highly-trained technicians—all committed to the goal of increasing the access and delivery of quality vision care at no cost to Grenadian citizens.
Spearheaded by the father-daughter duo of Orazio Giliberti, MD ’82, and Francesca Giliberti, MD ’10, the Division of Ophthalmology partnered in a first-time collaboration with Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International, a non-profit organization which treats a variety of sight-impairing conditions around the world, along with Grenada’s Ministry of Health to ensure its success.
“In an amazing outpouring of philanthropy, our team and SGU’s Division of Ophthalmology secured an additional operating scope, slit lamp, phaco machinery, and microinstruments, as well as, pharmaceutical donations to the SGU-PHuN clinic,” said Orazio Giliberti, MD ’82, FACS. “These machines and materials mimic a US-style operating room, which will allow future graduates, physicians, and SGU friends and guests to provide essential ophthalmic services.
“In its quest to provide much-needed aid to the Grenadian people, the SGU School of Medicine and Division of Ophthalmology continue to be ambassadors for medical education and vision,” added Dr. O. Giliberti.
Led by Dr. Francesca Giliberti, the team arrived in Grenada with more than $200,000 USD worth of equipment and medical supplies. During this two-week mission, the visiting ophthalmology teams evaluated approximately 250 patients and performed 49 surgical procedures, including cataract surgery. The overall donation amount, provided free of charge to the clinic, including airfare, shipping costs, patient visits, and ophthalmic surgeries, totaled over $750,000 USD.
“Overall, the clinic proved to be successful with a strong turnout and positive reviews from patients,” said Francesca Giliberti, MD ’10, JD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at SGU. “Our clinic patients benefited from expert medical advice, and in some instances, underwent vision-saving surgical procedures such as advanced cataract surgery. We were privileged to have an SGUSOM parent and experienced nine-time returning glaucoma and cataract surgeon, Dr. Philip M. Fiore, on this mission. The Division of Ophthalmology and the SGU-PHuN also provide a great resource of clinical material for students to learn.”
“Through the SGU-Physician Humanitarian Network, Dr. Giliberti and his team have performed dozens of surgeries free of cost to the Grenadian people,” said Mr. Brendon La Grenade, Vice Provost for Institutional Advancement. “In 2011, he and his daughter, Francesca launched an ophthalmology clinic in Grenada, which sponsored over 25 physician trips to the island. Since then, the program has attracted the interest of doctors from all over the United States and abroad, including other SGU alumni, who are willing to donate both their time and equipment to such a worthy cause.”
Today, Dr. Orazio Giliberti is the Associate Dean of US Clinical Studies, and the Director of Ophthalmology at St. George’s University, heading a department that boasts no fewer than 30 skilled ophthalmologists. He also owns and operates a private practice, Giliberti Eye and Laser Center, in Totowa, NJ. Giliberti Eye and Laser Center is comprised of three SGU graduates. Dr. Orazio Giliberti works with his daughter, Francesca, who credits her father as the major inspiration in her life, and Dominick I. Golio, MD ’98, who also is a practicing craniofacial and oculoplastic surgeon in New York City.
– Ray-Donna Peters