2019 Scholar: Mohima Sanyal

Mohima Sanyal is a third-year student at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She attends medical school with the personal ambition to apply her interdisciplinary perspectives towards providing excellent, accessible medical care to patients. She believes that access to “excellent healthcare is fundamental to a just society, and that it is critical that we engage with community-specific visual health needs and contribute to innovative, culturally-informed solutions.” Her projects involve creating a more inclusive, theoretically grounded approach to visual care research, applying the power of narrative medicine to mitigate implicit bias in physician practice, and eliminating language and insurance barriers for care. She has applied her interdisciplinary perspectives through her work with the Primary Open-Angle African American Glaucoma Genetics Study (a National Institutes of Health study), by giving back to her community with the Give Kids Sight Day as a volunteer coordinator, and through various avenues related to ophthalmology.  

Read the full announcement.

Paul Koch

Mohima’s credentials reflect a commitment to science and to public health. She plans to study ophthalmology and has already shown an interest and an aptitude for that specialty. She has the background to apply what she learns in the vast world of underserved populations both here and abroad. If she continues along this path, she will be a valuable teacher and influencer in the world of medicine.

– Paul S. Koch, MD
Robert Kellan

I was extremely impressed with the extraordinary measures she has taken in her pursuit to achieve a global perspective of how best to address visual-related health needs. Her MD-Master of Public Health degree combined with her MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology will give her the necessary credentials and those along with her enviable selfless attitude will guarantee her a leadership role in her field.

– Robert E. Kellan
I am deeply honored and grateful to receive the Koch Kellan Scholarship. It means so much to be recognized by luminaries in this field – Drs. Koch and Kellan as well as Paragon BioTeck – for my dedication to the field of ophthalmology and to providing excellent, equitable medical care to all. As an ophthalmology trainee and public health advocate, I look forward to continuing to collaborate with these leaders to mitigate vision care disparities in both local and global communities.
– Mohima Sanyal

2018 Scholar: Alejandro Arboleda

Alejandro Arboleda is a third-year medical student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM). He was born and raised in Miami, FL and is the son of Colombian parents. After earning his Bachelor and Master degrees in Biomedical Engineering, he decided to become a physician in order to more directly help patients and translate his ophthalmology research into the clinical setting. He has been committed to conducting research on novel treatments and technologies with his primary focus being the use of photodynamic antimicrobial therapy for the treatment of infectious keratitis. Alejandro has dedicated his effort towards numerous community service projects helping both local and international underserved communities. On an annual international mission trip, he organized an ophthalmology service that served over 500 patients in its first year and expects to see more this year.

Read the full announcement.

Paul Koch

“While many students imagine how things ought to be and wonder why not, Alejandro stepped out where few others do. He took actions to accomplish changes in the world around him. I have no doubt he has the temperament and the drive to accomplish many wonderful things and change our world as we know it.”

– Paul S. Koch, MD
Robert Kellan

“From reading Alejandro’s personal essay and his glowing letters of recommendation it became clear to me that he has clearly demonstrated certain criteria which for me are necessary for becoming an out standing ophthalmologist:

First; he has an insatiable creativity nurtured in childhood with Legos and in adolescence and adulthood with physics, optics, physiology and pathology. That tells me he will be an innovator.

Secondly; he has an exceptional IQ excelling in mastering the skills and knowledge necessary to address the challenges his patients present.

Thirdly; He is compassionate so clearly demonstrated by his eager participation in ophthalmic mission trips to South America and his tireless efforts to bring visual rehabilitation to the needy.

INNOVATION, EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE, AND COMPASSION. When these three qualities are combined, their synergy create the exceptional ophthalmologist the Koch Kellan scholarship was created to recognize, encourage and foster.”

– Robert E. Kellan
“I feel very honored to receive the Koch Kellan Scholarship. I look forward to dedicating my career to the field of ophthalmology where there is so much space for advancement and serving diverse patient populations. I will to continue to work hard so that my contributions to the field of ophthalmology honor the spirit of this award.”
– Alejandro Arboleda

2017 Scholar: Xinxin Zhang

Xinxin Zhang is a transitional year resident at Grand Strand Medical Center, SC. She received her MD from the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill. Her experiences with low-resource settings as a child in both China and the United States exposed her to many treatable eye conditions at an early age and sparked her desire to serve. Dr. Zhang’s passion for ophthalmology was confirmed during a research project focused on bringing technological diagnostic advances to some of China’s poorest provinces, where high rates of preventable blindness occur primarily due to lack of screening opportunities. During the course of her medical education, she spent one year researching dry eye disease and leading UNC’s student-run ophthalmology clinic. Dr. Zhang is committed to bringing ophthalmological innovation to the rural areas of the state she calls home upon the completion of her training, and looks forward to starting ophthalmology residency at Duke University next year.

Paul Koch

“Xinxin exemplifies the values of Paragon BioTeck and this scholarship through her volunteer work at free clinics, similar to those that supported her and her family when they first moved to the U.S. from China, as well as the research project she undertook in her country of origin. She will be a great future leader of ophthalmology.”

– Paul S. Koch, MD
Robert Kellan

“Xinxin’s academic achievements are stellar. Equally impressive is her strong desire to address the ophthalmic problems of the underprivileged so that they can fulfill the basic human wish for health and happiness.”

– Robert E. Kellan, MD
“Receiving the Koch Kellan Scholarship is a great honor. Ophthalmology is not always at the forefront of people’s minds when they think of mainstream medicine. As a student who is very passionate about ophthalmology and its impact, it is extremely encouraging and validating to find a scholarship that honors my future profession.”
– Xinxin Zhang

2016 Scholar: Hasenin Al-khersan

Hasenin Al-khersan completed his MD with honors at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is currently completing a transitional year program at MacNeal Hospital in Chicago after which he will attend the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida for his ophthalmology residency. As an adolescent, Mr. Al-khersan accompanied his grandmother to her glaucoma appointments, serving as a translator; later, he deepened his ophthalmic interests through cataract and glaucoma research and volunteering as the leader of Sight Savers, an organization that provides free glaucoma and vision screenings for the South Side Chicago community.

Read the full announcement on our blog.

Paul Koch

“This year’s recipient, Hasenin Al-khersan, has impressive academic credentials, an extraordinary background in ethics and social responsibility, and is dedicated to innovation in the field of ophthalmology.”

– Paul S. Koch, MD
Robert Kellan

“There is no doubt in my mind that Hasenin Al-khersan will become an excellent ophthalmologist. He understands what it means to be privileged to practice ophthalmology and to have patients entrust their great gift of vision to him.”

– Robert E. Kellan, MD
“Ophthalmology has long been more than an intellectual endeavor, but also a personal passion. To be recognized in this pursuit by Paragon BioTeck is humbling. I plan to continue my work in the field with Drs. Koch and Kellan; they are true examples of the impact that I may one day hope to make.”
– Hasenin Al-khersan

2015 Scholar: Captain Edward E. Woodward

The Koch Kellan Scholarship was first awarded to Captain Edward Woodward of the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, whose compelling personal connection to the field made him the ideal inaugural recipient.

A former standout Air Force pilot and Tillman Military Scholar, Woodward was medically retired from the Air Force after sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during inflight training just five flights short of graduation. He was inspired to pursue ophthalmology by his late twin brother, Gene, who was attending medical school at the time of his death. Obtaining his MD and pursuing a career as an ophthalmologist was a way for Woodward to fulfill that shared dream.

Read the full announcement on our blog.

“Captain Edward E. Woodward was named as the inaugural recipient of the Koch Kellan Scholarship earlier this year at ASCRS. In the short time that I’ve known Ed, he has stood out to me as a courageous and tenacious individual with considerable enthusiasm for ophthalmology. In light of his former career as a standout Air Force pilot and subsequent selection to the 2012 class of Tillman Military Scholars, I know that Ed has the focus and determination essential for success in the ophthalmic industry and I anticipate that he will add a unique perspective to the field of ophthalmology.”

– Patrick Witham, President & CEO

We now call upon future ophthalmologists to become part of an emerging group of innovative eyecare leaders and to continue the legacy of these industry giants.

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