The Board of Directors of ORBIS International hosted an evening to honor the life and achievements of David Paton, MD, a founder of ORBIS International. The event was held on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at a private club in New York City. Dr. Robert F. Walters, chairman of ORBIS International, hosted the event. The Honorable James A. Baker, III, Richard M. Furlaud and Bruce E. Spivey, MD co-hosted the event.
Dr. Robert F. Walters, chairman of ORBIS International, opened the evening by welcoming guests to this special reception and recognizing the crowd of more than 140 friends, family and colleagues. He thanked everyone for being an important part of the ORBIS mission and emphasized the enormous need and critical intervention necessary to eliminate the 75% of global blindness that is avoidable or treatable.
ORBIS International began as Project ORBIS in the late 1960’s when Dr. David Paton was a faculty member of The Wilmer Institute of The Johns Hopkins Hospital. After extended experiences abroad, Dr. Paton recognized the lack of eye care and ophthalmic teaching in developing nations where blindness was widespread. Out of his experiences came the idea for a mobile teaching hospital and the inspiration for the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital and, thus, Project ORBIS International was born.
Since its first program in 1982, ORBIS has carried out more than 1,000 programs in 88 countries, enhanced the skills of more than 288,000 eye health care personnel and helped establish services that have provided quality eye care treatment to more than 15 million people.
Over the past decade, ORBIS programs have expanded both in scale and scope. ORBIS has collaborated with more than 200 partner hospitals to carry out more than 170 multi-year projects that have been managed in six ORBIS staffed country/regional program locations; an average of six to eight Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) programs annually; an ophthalmic telemedicine-based initiative; utilization of more than 1,000 volunteer medical professionals in our education and training efforts; and large scale public awareness and advocacy campaigns. Through a needs-based approach, ORBIS has built the capacity of its partners in multiple areas of ophthalmic care including: cataract surgery, trachoma control, pediatric ophthalmology, eye banking, rural eye care, and related essential interventions such as outreach, screening and referral.
ORBIS uses different strategies to provide comprehensive training and resources, and key to this approach is the provision of ophthalmic training by our Volunteer Faculty through short term training programs. On average, ORBIS deploys an average of 150 Volunteer Faculty a year to its partner institutions and/or to work aboard the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital.
ORBIS retains a global cadre of medical professionals dedicated to helping our partners strengthen their abilities to preserve and restore sight. Our volunteers donate their time, knowledge and energy to enable learning and improve the quality of patient care around the world. ORBIS Volunteer Faculty are matched in accordance to requested subspecialty skill areas. Typical activities included hands-on training, surgical demonstration, diagnostic and post-operative consultation and lectures.
ORBIS International gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the Paton family, friends and colleagues and ORBIS International’s Board and benefactors whose contributions to the evening’s event will establish the Paton Global Ophthalmology Fellowship.