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    Vitreoretinal surgeon finds purpose in community service

    For Joshua Mali, MD, the road to becoming an ophthalmologist started when he was just a teenager. When Dr. Mali was about 14 years old, his family took a trip to Nicaragua with Health for Humanity, a Baha’i-inspired volunteer organization that provides medical services to those in poverty.

    He remembered how inspired he felt that even at such a young age, he could help others by volunteering. This was the beginning of what would be a decades-long service-oriented passion for Dr. Mali.

    “Doing service work kind of inspired me,” he said. Having the opportunity to spend time with his family at the same time as providing service to these people who really needed it was a merger of the things he most enjoyed in life.

    Dr. Mali's blog: 5 reasons why physicians still have the best profession

    “I really like that feeling,” he said.

    Today, Dr. Mali is a vitreoretinal surgeon, practicing at The Eye Associates, Sarasota, FL, and still looks for opportunities to get involved in service.

    In 2009, Dr. Mali volunteered as a camp counselor at Georgia LIONS Camp for the Blind, a summer camp in Waycross, GA that hosts 6- to 10-year-old visually impaired campers. Several years later, the impact it left on him still remains.

    “I still remember the camper I was in charge of,” he said. While he was responsible for the camper, he saw his role more as being friends for duration of the experience.

    Later that same year, Dr. Mali served again as a camp counselor for Camp Abilities at LIONS Camp in Maryland, where he found a way to help visually impaired campers in another area for which he has a great passion.

    More from Dr. Mali: 5 things interviewers look for in residency candidates

    “I love sports,” he explained. “So it was cool to be able to help campers who are visually impaired play sports and have some good old camp fun. They don’t let [being visually impaired] stop them. That really inspired me to go into ophthalmology. I am definitely trying to make an effort to continue that throughout my career. That’s the reason I got into this, and I don’t want to forget it.”

    Favorite moments

    Jolie Higazi
    Jolie is the Content Specialist for Ophthalmology Times. She can be reached at [email protected]

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