(Left) Larry Frohman, MD, Professor;
(middle) Marco A. Zarbin, MD, PhD,
Chair and Professor;
and (right) Roger E. Turbin, MD, Assistant
Professor, Institute of Ophthalmology
and Visual Science, NJMS
KEEPING MEDICAL SPECIALTIES ALIVE
The buzz began when neuro-ophthalmologist Larry Frohman made the front page of The Wall Street Journal on May 6. Weeks later, the story had circumnavigated the global network, landing everywhere from Barrons, United Press International, and the Trusted MD Network to Technorati, a Web site tracking 112.8 million blogs.
A side effect of medical insurance reimbursement rules is creating shortages of primary care physicians and sub-specialists in numerous areas such as endocrinology, rheumatology, pulmonology and neuro-ophthalmology because medical students are shying away from disciplines that receive lesser reimbursements. One of the two neuro-ophthalmologists at NJMS, Frohman enjoys his detective work, diagnosing mysterious disorders involving visual problems and the nervous system. He has received inquiries to help patients from all over the world. There are only 400 neuro-ophthalmologists in the U.S. and more are retiring than training. “I’ve asked the American Association of Medical Colleges to consider running a session on these ‘orphan’ specialties at their next annual meeting.” Frohman’s interests include ocular manifestations of autoimmune diseases, unexplained visual loss, sarcoidosis, and vasculitis. Roger Turbin, the other NJMS go-to guy in neuro-ophthalmology, focuses on orbital tumors, inflammatory conditions and trauma, and unusual diseases of the optic nerve. Their department chair, Marco A. Zarbin, believes, “All these sub-specialties are important and we need to have good neuro-ophthalmologists for the future, especially in an academic setting.”
The same Internet that sent Frohman’s issues around the globe brings anxious e-mailers to UMDNJ for advice. Frohman himself has patients who come to NJMS from as far away as Malaysia and Singapore.
In the middle of a tough medical crisis, searching for the best and the brightest or that missing link to a mysterious quandary, the myriad sub-specialties available in all eight UMDNJ schools become readily apparent. For example, there are 17 maternal-fetal medicine physicians at RWJMS. For geriatric care, SOM, ranked 12th among all U.S. medical schools for geriatric medical education by U.S. News and World Report, is the place to go.