Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Donny Suh

Dr. Donny Suh, MD, FAAP, MBA, FACS, is a Volunteer Faculty member who has volunteered his free time to help others with Orbis for over 20 years. He is Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and Professor at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Suh has traveled the world with Orbis. In 2019 he volunteered on our program in Bihar State, India, focusing on pediatric cataracts. Check out some of our favorite pictures of Dr. Suh throughout the years.

Doctor and Author

Despite his busy schedule, Dr. Suh has found time to write a book titled Catching a Star. Published in January 2020, it follows his journey to becoming a physician, his remarkable medical experiences and touching patient stories. We want to give a big thank you to Dr. Suh who will be donating all proceeds from his book to the treatment and prevention of avoidable blindness.

Buy Catching a Star on Amazon

Check out the book

Training Local Doctors

On his recent program in India, focusing on cataracts in children, Dr. Suh supervised 18 surgeries and worked with local doctors at the Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital to hone their skills. In an interview, Dr. Suh said about training doctors locally:

“I’ve been training medical students, residents and fellows for the past 20 years at the local university, and I enjoy teaching very much. However, when I teach the international doctors, there’s a tremendous advantage to teaching them locally on their home turf. Because, when I do that, I’m utilizing their own equipment, working with their own staff and with their own patients. For these young faculty members, it is extremely advantageous for me to actually come into a setting that’s a lot more comfortable for them. They’re more comfortable, they’re more relaxed.”

Dr. Suh appreciates the privileged position that comes with being an experienced doctor. But he stresses that it's never just a one-way street and that he often learns even more than he teaches.

“I started working with Orbis about 20 years ago and it’s been a tremendous experience for me because I actually have a chance – an opportunity – to give back. But also, at the same time, I receive far more than I give. From the medical perspective, I learn so much more because there are a lot of pathologies that we’d never get to see in the United States that I get to see while on these teaching missions. From a medical standpoint, I learn tremendously.”

In 2020, Dr. Suh fundraised with this hilarious dance routine with his talented family

As an expert in pediatric ophthalmology, Dr. Suh explained: “It’s a privilege to have a tremendous impact on a life of any child. But vision is extremely critical. It is thought that about 80% of your development hinges on vision – so without vision it is actually hard for someone to even walk or ambulate. And for a young person, it’s difficult to communicate without eye contact. Giving someone sight or curing their blindness is not simply restoring their sight. It’s far more important than that – it’s actually giving them hope. And that’s what Orbis is about. It’s about giving people hope. I feel extremely blessed and am compelled to give back.”

Thank you Dr. Suh for sharing your expertise with doctors around the world. Your dedication to medicine will help communities gain access to life changing treatment for generations to come! We are proud to have you as part of our team.

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