Saving Sight Worldwide
Around the world, 80% of those who are blind should not be sightless. Of those suffering from avoidable blindness, 90% live in the developing world.
As director of faculty relations and clinical services with ORBIS International, Danielle Bogert works to eradicate avoidable blindness from Southeast Asia to sub-Saharan Africa and is responsible for stewardship of a global cadre of volunteers.
“We have an active cadre of about 400 anesthesiologists and other professionals from over 25 countries who dedicate their time and talent to our mission,” explains Bogert. “Our volunteers work aboard our unique Flying Eye Hospital, a DC-10 aircraft outfitted as a teaching hospital, and in our partner hospitals throughout the countries in which we work.”
ORBIS emphasizes training professionals in each country it serves so they in turn can serve their own communities.
When Bogert joined ORBIS in 1993, she was drawn in by the organization’s pioneering spirit and culture of dedication. Although her work is fast-paced, there have been ample opportunities for her to appreciate the difference she is making.
In addition to her many duties, she also serves as the organization’s eye bank technical advisor and was instrumental in supporting the establishment of the first eye bank in Ethiopia. “It took us almost five years to build, equip, train, and advocate for the necessary legislation to create the facility and train the Ethiopian surgeons in cornea transplants,” she explains.
“Almost a decade later, there are patients able to see because of this service we helped the government and eye health community create. To stand in the eye bank and meet the people we helped train and treat in Addis Ababa made all the years of administration and advocacy worth it!
“As I approach my 20th year with ORBIS, I realize my job isn’t just a career but a life passion.” The key to her professional stamina, she adds, is her husband, Andrew McKay, and their seven-year-old daughter, Casey.
For more information, visit orbis.org/
—Bethany Vaccaro ’06