Program Director's Message

While there are numerous ophthalmology training programs throughout the country that will train competent clinicians, we at the Harkness Eye Institute are committed to mentoring and training the future leaders of ophthalmology. Upon graduating from the program, our highly skilled residents often complete their ophthalmic subspecialty training at the most sought-after and prestigious clinical and research fellowships in the country. Many of our residents have gone on to faculty and leadership positions at top academic institutions.

It is an exciting time for the Harkness Eye Institute and the Ophthalmology Residency Program, full of change and progress. In March 2012, Dr. George “Jack” Cioffi became the Department Chair. Dr. Jason Horowitz took on the role of Medical Director of the Resident Ophthalmology Clinic and I transitioned from Associate Residency Program Director to Residency Program Director a few short months later. The three of us are devoted resident advocates, deeply committed to the formidable task of making an already-outstanding residency program even better. We work as team, meeting several times a month, often with the help of resident representatives, to discuss and implement improvements in the program. We firmly believe that striking a balance between independence and supervision, formalized instruction and hands-on learning, service and education is critical to creating and maintaining a top ophthalmology training program.

Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Cioffi, a tremendous emphasis has been placed on resident education and well-being. With over 40 full time and voluntary faculty at the Harkness Eye Institute, the faculty to resident ratio is over 4:1. Our faculty is made up of committed resident educators, many of them having been recognized for their outstanding teaching abilities by the medical center. In addition, our world-renowned research faculty provides guidance and mentorship for both basic science and clinical resident research projects.

Recently, we redesigned the didactic curriculum to include a formalized surgical seminar and wet lab series as well as new series of workshops on practical elements of being a physician such as medical coding, contract negotiation and understanding malpractice and disability insurance.

In addition, this past winter we held the first Annual Resident Retreat at a nearby ski resort. A mix of hard work and camaraderie, residents participated in leadership and communication skills exercises, critically evaluated the program, and tested their athletic skills on the double black diamonds.

The “jewel” of the residency is its patient population. The majority of the patients evaluated and treated in the resident ophthalmology clinic live and work in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. The population is primarily from the Dominican Republic and have had very limited access to health care. Because of this environment, the residents have the unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of their patients by treating often very serious and severe ophthalmic disease

With our dedicated leadership, unique patient population, and devoted faculty, the residency program at the Harkness Eye Institute will provide the compassionate and motivated resident with the best possible clinical and surgical education necessary to become a master clinician and true leader in the field of Ophthalmology. I invite you learn more about our residency program and our residents in the “About the Program”,  “Applicant Eligibility, Selection and Application Process”, and “Current Residents” sections of this website. 


Bryan J. Winn, M.D.
Program Director, Ophthalmology Residency