Each year, the accomplishments of the Kellogg Eye Center for International Ophthalmology (KECIO) are celebrated on International Night. The evening’s keynote speaker was Senait Fesseha, M.D., J.D. Born in Ethiopia, Dr. Fisseha was educated in the U.S. and the U.K. She trained in obstetrics and gynecology, including a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Michigan Medicine. As an associate professor at U-M, she served as medical director of the Michigan Center for Reproductive Medicine and was the founding executive director of the Center for International Reproductive Health Training. Dr. Fesseha helped Michigan set up a partnership with St. Paul's hospital in Ethiopia (see page 22). She joined the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation in 2015 as director of international programs.
One of the world’s foremost experts in reproductive health access in developing countries, Dr. Fisseha challenged the audience to “tip the scales of power” in global health. Among her recommendations: address inequalities in leadership and research collaboration and move beyond a disease-specific focus toward efforts that strengthen health systems—from supply chain logistics to workforce development and informatics.
Dr. Fisseha credits U-M with providing the opportunities, mentorship and support she needed to pursue a career in global health. “Home is where your story begins,” she told the audience, “and here is where my story began.”
During the 2019 event, three trainees shared highlights of their global outreach projects with KECIO, which included clinical and research initiatives with partners in Ethiopia, Jamaica and India.
Equally important is KECIO’s work to bring visiting scholars to Michigan for specialized training. At the event Sherry Day, O.D., shared details about Kellogg’s curriculum in specialty contact lenses and low-vision rehabilitation. Now in its sixth year, the courses have been completed by trainees from as far away as Israel, Kenya, Poland and Taiwan.