Dr. Arturo Grau Diez, Simulation Training Partner

Meet eye health hero Dr. Arturo Grau Diez, a simulation training champion with a passion for saving sight and teaching others how to do it. Based in Santiago, Chile, Dr. Grau is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) and heads the simulation center there.

Dr. Arturo Grau Diez, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

This is Dr. Arturo Grau Diez. Through our partnership with UC and the Alcon Foundation, we've made simulation training a reality in Chile.

In partnership with the Alcon Foundation, we collaborated with Dr. Grau to strengthen UC’s simulation program and deliver several Flying Eye Hospital training projects held virtually and in person. He tells us, “We're learning from Orbis every day and in every program we create together.”

Day to day, Dr. Grau supervises UC residents in clinical work. The eye health visionary also spearheads a social innovation laboratory and a related course in health that has drawn students from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and other parts of Chile. Through this work, he helps create solutions for people with visual disabilities.

Dr. Grau’s Career

After graduating as a resident in Ophthalmology at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Dr. Grau traveled to Spain for a two-year program in cornea ocular surface. He then lived in London for a year while doing a second cornea fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

During that time, he became Chief Resident at UC which is where his interest in teaching began. His rich professional résumé includes membership of the UC Bioethics Center ambassador of TFOS (Tear film and ocular surface society) in Chile. His areas of work include Lasik refractive surgery, diseases of the cornea and ocular surface, cataract surgery corneal grafts, and general ophthalmology for adults and children.

Speaking about his teaching philosophy, he says, “It's a moral responsibility to teach areas of medicine that sometimes are not fancy – or the things that you can find everywhere in the world.”

“Orbis Changed the Way We Teach”

We’ve been working with Dr. Grau since 2018 when we joined forces with UC and our long-standing simulation technology partner, Alcon, to launch the ophthalmology simulation center within the University.

It was a moment 10 years ago when Dr. Grau was undertaking his second fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital that really inspired him. He saw residents using basic elements for simulation because one of the teachers preferred it. After that, he had ideas about bringing simulation training to Chile, but he knew he couldn’t do it alone.

He says: “As in any hospital in Latin America, normally residents start by doing surgery on a patient within a hospital, and that's not really fair for the patient. So, I started looking around for real experts in the world. And at some point in 2018, I connected to Orbis. You know, for me, it was like a dream. Orbis and those who work for Orbis, are like friends to me. We are working together in this topic. Also, it is an honor to have the only single project in simulation in my country of Chile.

We also came to realize that it's impossible to work in this area without real experts. So, in 2019 we created our simulation center and the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital for the first time visited Chile for a simulation training program. Chile has a very good level in ophthalmology. We have specialists all over the country. And for me, having a program only for simulation was something amazing.”

Dr. Arturo Grau Diez with Maurice Geary, Flying Eye Hospital Director during a simulation project in Santiago, Chile in 2019

Dr. Grau with Director of the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, Maurice Geary, during a 2019 simulation training project in Chile.

A decade on from his lightbulb moment in London, simulation training is now a compulsory element of the University’s residency program, and he relishes this transformation in teaching: “It's now part of the mandatory training of each resident. Simulation in the past was something very distant. But now when you have a first-year resident, they know that this program is part of the general curriculum of the residency. That’s amazing.”

Dr. Arturo Grau Diez stands outside the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital during a simulation project in Chile in 2019

Dr. Grau stands outside the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Dr. Grau for being so determined to help establish simulation training in Chile. Thanks to his hard work, many Chileans can now access improved eye care.

As Dr. Grau says: “There are only a few projects like this in the world. We are making history now. We're changing the classic way to teach using simulation. I think that it's something special, really. Orbis changed the way we teach, and we proved that we can do it!”

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