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    Techie-turned ophthalmologist tinkers through fellowship

    Merging IT skillset with medicine

    Sabin Dang, MD, didn’t have as clear-cut of a journey to the ophthalmic world as many would expect. While today he spends his working hours improving visual outcomes of patients at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston, a few years ago one would have found him creating coding software in his IT consulting company to help businesses grow. 

    “There’s not that many people who make that switch,” he said. “I don’t know many people who have.” 

    IT background

    Having created an IT consulting company while in college, Dr. Dang’s goal was to help companies streamline their workflow and shave off expenses. His talent in the technology sector was recognized while he was conducting visual processing research at MIT after completing his undergraduate education. After creating and implementing specific MRI software, he was awarded the “MIT Excellence Award,” the highest honor awarded to staff.

    After-hours: Vitreoretinal surgeon finds purpose in community service

    After a few years in the technology sector, he soon realized that at the end of the workday, he wasn’t satisfied with the work that he was doing. He remembers a situation in which a company with automated systems for which he created coding ended up downsizing three employees because of software he had written.

    “That was absolutely the wrong direction I wanted to go,” he said. “I was helping businesses, but I wasn’t helping people.”

    That was one of many factors that played into Dr. Dang’s decision to make a transition to medicine, where he felt he could make a tangible difference in people’s lives. And for him, it was clear as to which medical field he would choose.

    More: DJ ophthalmologists in surgery by day, mixing music by night

    “I’m a big techie. I don’t think there’s any field that’s more high-tech than what we do. The sheer number of new equipment and cutting-edge technology, surgery, and imaging equipment . . . for me it ended up being a no-brainer,” he explained. “I get all the cool toys and I get to do what I love. Sign me up!”

    He attended medical school at the Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education program, and is currently in his last year of vitreoretinal fellowship at Tufts New England Eye Center/Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston.

    Coming from an IT background that focused on working with imaging-based companies, ophthalmology was a smooth merger of his passion for tinkering, and his drive to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

    “I was able to bring my skillset over from IT and directly apply some of the things in terms of ophthalmology research,” he said.

    Integrating his skills

    Jolie Higazi
    Jolie is the Content Specialist for Ophthalmology Times. She can be reached at jolie.higazi@advanstar.com.

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