Ophthalmology Faculty Member Working to Help Haiti after Earthquake

Three weeks following a devastating earthquake in Haiti, the country is still suffering from the harsh effects. Many homes and buildings are severely damaged or have collapsed into rubble. Access to health care is very limited.

Ana Bastos de Carvalho, MD, assistant professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology, has been in close contact with her connections in Haiti’s sole ophthalmology residency program, which she works with since 2018 and co-directs.  

As the residency co-director, this recent natural disaster hits home for Dr. Bastos de Carvalho. Even before the earthquake, she would speak to her residents at the Haitian hospital nearly every day just to check in.  

Haiti“The impact has been very, very significant in a large area of the country,” Dr. Bastos de Carvalho said. “They need a lot of help for health care and rebuilding homes and buildings.” 

This year’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake comes nearly a decade after another that occurred near the nation’s capital, Port au-Prince, killing at least 200,000. Dr. Bastos de Carvalho said there are many areas of the capital that still haven’t been fixed, and this year’s earthquake only worsened the destruction in the country.   

Though the previous earthquake’s epicenter was close to the capital city, this time around, the earthquake mainly affected the rural, southern peninsula of Haiti. The limited amount of roadways poses a great challenge for getting medical supplies and other resources out to the impacted areas, which already face limited access to medical care.  

Dr. Bastos de Carvalho said her connections in Haiti have emphasized the need for medical and surgical supplies, as well as resources to rebuild the affected areas. 

With the help of Padmaja Sudhakar, MD, associate professor of neurology and ophthalmology, Dr. Bastos de Carvalho is spreading the word about organizations working directly on disaster relief that are accepting donations. These include: 

Dr. Bastos de Carvalho said her work with the Haiti residency program, which includes a curriculum delivered by renowned ophthalmologists across the globe, is made possible in part thanks to supportive faculty and trainees in UK’s department of ophthalmology including Peter Timoney, MD; Jessica Weinstein, MD; Seema Capoor, MD; Katie Smith, MD; and Andrew Pearson, MD, chair of ophthalmology.  

The UK College of Medicine offers the first global ophthalmology track in the U.S., allowing for UK ophthalmology residents to be involved with the work.  

For more information on Dr. Bastos de Carvalho’s global ophthalmology work, please email aba253@uky.edu