Woman Crush Wednesday.
We love to celebrate female movers and shakers who are successful locally, nationally, internationally, and most importantly, personally.
This week, we are so excited to highlight Dr. Yuna Rapoport, who is an NYC-based ophthalmologist specializing in refractive, cornea, and cataract surgery.
We asked her to share with us her story and her thoughts on success.
How did you get started in your field/career? What has been your biggest roadblock along the way...and how did you over come it?
I started medical school very young, at age 20, because I was in an accelerated honors program at Northwestern. After the first year of medical school, I realized I was not as committed as I needed to be to undertake the decade of medical training. I decided to take a year off in between the first and second year of medical school. I was simultaneously doing a Masters in Public Health. I received several grants within the school of public health to travel to the south of India to Aravind and Arasan Eye Hospitals to study the Aravind cataract rural camp model, to then help an ophthalmologist in Ghana implement it there. I then spent 4 months in an endocrine/ primary care clinic in the Bolivian jungle translating for American volunteer doctors and researching prevailing alternative/ plant-based medicine beliefs amongst the indigenous population living in the jungle. Seeing how much ophthalmologic surgeries, specifically cataract and corneal procedures, had an immediate impact on day-to-day quality of life, made me recommitted to medical school and to ophthalmology. Now I hope in the future to continue to work internationally through ophthalmology-specific organizations like Orbis International and Dr. Geoffrey Tabin and Dr. Sanduk Ruit’s Himalayan Cataract Project.
Do you have a mentor? If so, how did you find him/her? If not, who do you model your professional goals after?
I have had many mentors over the years, starting with my own ophthalmologist Dr. Jonathan Davidorf in West Hills, California, who would give me advice every time I came home from med school, to the senior and junior cornea faculty Drs. Uyen Tran and Sahar Kohanim where I did my residency at Vanderbilt Eye Institute, and even my dear friend Rachel, who lived in cities away from her family and friends as a sacrifice in the beginning of her career (she is a legal reporter). I developed a very close-knit group of female physician friends while in Nashville for residency, and these women are rising stars in radiology, dermatology, orthopedic surgery, infectious disease, pediatrics, and interventional cardiology. Each has been instrumental in providing much needed guidance and support along the way during medical training. I think it is very important to give back and I am now instructing ophthalmology residents at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and Mount Sinai.
Do you have any word of advice for pre-med/medical students interested in ophthalmology?
Get involved as early as possible in ophthalmology-- it is an early decision specialty. Shadow as much as possible! Spend time in the operating room, in the minor procedure room, in the clinic. See if you truly love it before committing, because it is a very specific (and incredible) field. Develop relationships with people in the ophthalmology department or in the research labs. Be proactive- volunteer for presentations and for any research projects. It is a very small field- get to know as many people as possible early on.
Yuna Rapoport received her MD from the honors program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, completed ophthalmology residency at Vanderbilt University, and completed an extra year of fellowship at Harvard Medical School. She performs refractive, cornea, and cataract surgery. Each of Dr. Rapoport’s patients receives individualized and expert care. Her work regarding advances in eye care treatments has been published in many leading medical journals and presented at major ophthalmologic meetings. She is on staff and teaches trainees at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s Roosevelt.
She is currently accepting new patients at: Eastside Eye Surgeons / 178 East 71st Street /New York, NY 10021 / (212) 650-0400 / www.eastsideeyesurgeons.com