Timeline of Projects

DEC 2017 – Sponsors Russian Neonatologist and Two NICU Nurses for Fellowship the United Kingdom
Sponsors a two-week NICU Fellowship for neonatologist Anna Leniushkina MD and NICU nurses, Marina Skvortsova and Olga Karpova, from Federal State Budget Institution, Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology, Moscow, to observe Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, and Central Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.

AUG 2017 – ESI Sends Russian Anesthesiologist to 3rd Neonatal Transport Conference in the UK  
Sends anesthesiologist Makarov Vsevolod MD, from Level 3 NICU Sverdlovsk Regional Children’s Hospital Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation to attend the 3rd Edition Transport of High Risk Infants Congress, Oxford, UK. Representation came from 44 countries around the world.

JULY 2017 – Dr. Richards Speaks at Regional ROP Conclave on 3rd Trip to Armenia
Attended by over 280 professionals from Armenia, Ukraine, Romania, Georgia, Turkey, Moldova, Belarus, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, England and the United States. They included 164 ophthalmologists, 54 neonatologists, 24 pediatric ophthalmologists, 12 NICU nurses and other professionals (state officials, nephrologists, IT specialists, dentists, etc.). Dr. Richards gave presentations to the physicians, as did world experts from London and Los Angeles (Chien Wong MD and Thomas Lee MD). Dr. Richards coordinates with the planning committee for the entire program. Eye Samaritans International (ESI) provides travel grants for the 24 participant countries.

MAY 2017 – Dr. Richards Makes 2nd Trip to Ukraine
Along with one of England’s top neonatologists, Shahid Husain MD, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, Dr. Richards delivers instruments and NICU equipment, teaches and assesses needs for future training to pediatric ophthalmologists in Kyiv, Ukraine.

SEPT 2016 – Dr. Richards Makes 2nd Trip to Armenia
Trains pediatric ophthalmologists in outpatient clinics across the country, delivers additional equipment and helps re-organize supplies for medical offices throughout Armenia. 

SEPT 2016 – Sends Russian Anesthesiologist to 2nd Annual Neonatal Transport Conference in Denmark
Sends anesthesiologist, Makarov Vsevolod MD, from Level 3 NICU Sverdlovsk Regional Children’s Hospital, Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation, to attend the 2nd Edition Transport High Risk Infants Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark. Representation came from 44 countries around the world.

JUNE 2016 – Sponsors, Organizes and Participates in Regional ROP Meeting in Yekaterinburg
Attended by 47 neonatologists, NICU nurses and pediatric ophthalmologists from the Russian Federation. Philadelphia’s Graham Quinn MD reviewed the updated ROP classification and newest modes of treatment, and London’s Shahid Husain MD presented important information about antenatal OB practices, “golden hour” treatment of neonates and optimal NICU care. Small group discussions addressed NICU training, data collection, oxygen guidelines, telemedicine and barriers to ROP screening and treatment.

MARCH 2016 – Sends Zeiss Premium-Quality Indirect Laser to Romania
This is Romania’s 2nd indirect laser for treating ROP throughout the entire country.

OCT 2015 – Sends Hungarian Ophthalmologist to ROP Meeting in Montenegro
Funds the attendance of Hungarian’s Dorothy Szabo MD, at the Southeast Europe Ophthalmic Society in Budva, Montenegro, to discuss need for a regional ROP meeting in Southeastern Europe.

SEPT 2015 – Dr. Richards Makes 1st Trip to Armenia to Establish Contact
Dr. Richards makes 1st trip to Yerevan, Armenia to train pediatric ophthalmologists in basic examination techniques, assist in development of pediatric ophthalmology clinics throughout Armenia and deliver equipment. He meets with the Chairman of Ophthalmology and Pediatric Ophthalmology at S.V. Malayan Ophthalmological Center in Yerevan and the Director of Armenian EyeCare Project, Dr. Nune Yeghiazaryan, to discuss problems in pediatric eye care and future planning.

SEPT 2015 – Funds Translation of Online NICU ROP Training Program from Portuguese to English
Phase 2 will involve translation of program from Portuguese into Russian.

SEPT 2015 – Sends Two Moscow Neonatologists to Conference in Hungary
Provides resources for two Moscow neonatologists (Dr. Prutkin and Dr. Balashova) to attend JENS: The First Congress of Joint European Neonatal Societies in Budapest, Hungary. 

SEPT 2015 – Develops Guidelines for Pediatric Ophthalmology Clinics throughout Armenia
In cooperation with the Howard Karagheusian Foundation, ESI develops guidelines for the Organization of Pediatric Ophthalmology for clinics throughout Armenia.

MARCH 2015 –ESI Funds 1st National ROP Workshop in Romania
90 neonatologists/pediatricians, 27 ophthalmologists and 67 nurses from every one of the 65 NICUs in the country gathered in Bucharest, Romania to develop guidelines, understand importance of proper nursing care and learn ways to prevent and treat ROP. This symposium was the first opportunity for physicians and nurses to formulate a National ROP Program. This symposium was the first opportunity for the physicians and nurses in Romania to formulate a National ROP Program.

JUNE 2014 – Underwrites National ROP Conference in Poland and Sends Two Expert Speakers
Provides travel expenses for pediatric ophthalmologist Graham Quinn MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and neonatologist Brian Darlow MD, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand, to train physicians, assess NICU needs and speak at a national conference in Lodz, Poland.

JUNE 2014 – Sponsors a Regional ROP Black Sea Country Workshop in Hungary
Attended by 53 physicians, with pediatric ophthalmologists, neonatologists and NICU nurses from Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. They return to their countries to implement changes in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ROP. ESI team Clare Gilbert MD, Graham Quinn MD, Shahid Husain MD and Julie Flanagin RN lecture, lead intensive small group discussions and conduct problem solving.

JUNE 2014 – Conducts and Sponsors Regional ROP/Neonatology Seminar in Siberia
Conducts and underwrites the Siberia Regional Seminar on Neonatology and Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a series of medical workshops in the Altai region of Barnaul, Siberia, Russian Federation.

SEPT 2013 – ESI Establishes ROP Training Center in Moscow
Helps Director Irina Astasheva MD establish the Training Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of ROP at Russian State Medical University in Moscow.

JUNE 2013 – Sponsors Russian Surgeon to Attend Pediatric Vitreoretinal Surgery Observership the USA 
Provides funding for ROP surgeon, Ekatarina Denisova MD, Helmholtz Moscow Research Institute of Eye Diseases, Moscow, to attend a one-month observership in pediatric vitreoretinal surgery with Michael Trese MD, and his colleagues, in Royal Oaks, Michigan. Dr. Denisova then creates a telemedicine program to diagnose and treat ROP throughout Moscow.

APRIL 2013 – Underwrites a Neonatology Seminar in Moscow
Provides expenses for New Zealand’s neonatologist Brian Darlow MD, international expert on ROP and neonatology, to attend. Dr. Darlow lectured, discussed problems in ROP in the Russian Federation and provided steps to improving neonatal care and preventing blindness from ROP. Over 50 Russian neonatologists attend.

APRIL 2013 – ESI Conducts 2nd ROP International Scientific Conference in Moscow
Over 300 pediatric ophthalmologists from across the Russian Federation attended for powerful presentations by New Zealand’s Brian Darlow MD, London’s Clare Gilbert MD and Philadelphia’s Graham Quinn MD (Expenses paid by ESI). Intensive discussions led to National ROP Guidelines; an international fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery for a Russian ophthalmologist; new lasers and ROP training for all Russian provinces; and planning for further workshops.

MAY 2013 – Underwrites a National ROP Workshop in Bulgaria
Attended by 67 pediatric ophthalmologists, neonatologists and NICU nurses from Sofia, Bulgaria. A team from the United Kingdom conducted the workshop and facilitated discussion, which covered current UK National ROP Guidelines, NICU nursing protocols and plans to form a National ROP Committee in Bulgaria.

MAY 2013 – Assists in Creation of National ROP Guidelines for the Russian Federation
Dr. Richards creates, in conjunction with London’s International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), National ROP Guidelines for the timing of examination of premature infants to detect ROP. As a result, Moscow’s Minister of Health begins implementing these guidelines throughout the entire Russian Federation.

MAY 2013 – Funds Translation of ROP Parent Brochure from English into Five Different Languages
Brochure allows parents of preterm infants to gain a clearer understanding of the disease, and it encourages them to cooperate with important follow-up visits and future treatment.

MAY 2013 – Sends London Experts to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
Provides travel expenses for international ROP expert, Clare Gilbert MD MSc, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and London’s Robin Percy, International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), to attend a National ROP Seminar in Tbilisi, Georgia.

OCT 2013 – Sponsors Russian and Ukrainian Doctors for Intensive ROP Training in India
Sponsors Irina Astasheva MD, Russian State Medical University, Moscow, and Katya Fedchuk MD, Ukrainian Medical Center of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Eye Microsurgery, National Pediatric Specialized Hospital, Kyiv, for two weeks of ROP laser training with Subhadra Jalali MD at the L.V. Prasad Institute in Hyderabad, India.

OCT 2012 – Sends Three Russian Physicians to World ROP Congress in China
Sends Chairman of Helmholtz Moscow Research Institute of Eye Diseases, and two colleagues, to Shanghai, China, to attend the 3rd International World ROP Congress.

OCT 2012 – Conducts 1st National ROP Seminar in Moscow
Attended by over 300 pediatric ophthalmologists from the Russian Federation. Clare Gilbert MD outlined need for a systematic approach to screening and treatment, and Graham Quinn MD reviewed the latest findings of laser treatment and present clarification of ROP. Chairman of Pediatric Ophthalmology Dr. Katargina happily announced that Russia’s Minister of Health declared that each of Russian Federation’s 49 provinces would receive an indirect ophthalmoscope, laser and wide field digital imaging system for ROP diagnosis and treatment. New screening protocols were developed, and cause of legal outcomes with ROP was discussed.

SEPT 2012 – ESI Sends Four Ukrainian Ophthalmologists to World Society Eye Meeting in Italy
Kyiv’s Katya Fedchuk MD, Yuri Barinov MD, Hanna Barinova MD and Dr. Lynnyk, attend the World Society of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus meeting in Milan, Italy.

JUNE 2012 – Sends High-Quality ROP Laser to Ukraine
This is the 2nd functional indirect laser in the entire city of Kyiv, Ukraine.

MAY 2012 – ESI Sends Two Moldovan Physicians to Conference in Ukraine
Provides travel and accommodations for two pediatric ophthalmologists from Moldova to attend a pediatric ophthalmology meeting at the prestigious Filatov Institute of Eye Diseases, Odessa, Ukraine. Dr. Richards speaks on retinoblastoma and meets with Yuri Baranov, MD, Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology, Ukrainian Medical Center of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Eye Microsurgery, Kyiv, to establish contact for future programs.

MAY 2012 – Dr. Richards is the 1st American Pediatric Ophthalmologist to Make and Establish a Working Relationship with Pediatric Ophthalmologists in Kyiv, Ukraine
Dr. Richards makes first trip to Ukraine, with his wife Rishea, to meet pediatric ophthalmologists at Ukrainian Medical Center of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Eye Microsurgery, National Pediatric Specialized Hospital “Ohmatdyt” in Kyiv. He assesses their need for future training and equipment and delivers a pediatric auto refractor/keratometer, vitreoretinal surgery equipment and other instruments to diagnose and treat ROP.

MAY 2012 – Provides Equipment to Pediatric Ophthalmologists in Moldova
After making contact in Odessa, Ukraine, Dr. Richards sends the Moldovan physicians an indirect ophthalmoscope, scleral depressors and an eyelid specula for examination of the eyes of preterm infants.

FEB 2012 – EYE SAMARITANS INTERNATIONAL Established
Mission: To educate and train physicians, deliver equipment and alter national policies to reduce the epidemic of infant blindness from ROP in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Countries.

SEPT 2011 – Sends Two Western Physicians to Moscow to Speak on ROP
Sponsors London’s Clare Gilbert MD MSc, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Philadelphia’s Graham Quinn MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, to speak at the National ROP Seminar at Helmholtz Moscow Research Institute of Eye Diseases, Moscow.

AUG 2010 – SHREVEPORT SEES RUSSIA Established
Mission: To educate and train physicians, deliver equipment and alter national policies to reduce the epidemic of infant blindness from ROP in the Russian Federation.

DEC 2009 – Dr. Richards Makes 2nd Trip to Moscow
Meets with pediatric ophthalmologists, lectures, teaches ROP screening and plans future National Seminars at Helmholtz Moscow Research Institute of Eye Diseases, which oversees ophthalmology for the entire Russian Federation.

March 2009 – Russian Physicians Train with Dr. Richards in Louisiana
Dr. Richards personally oversees the two-week training of two pediatric ophthalmologists (Irina Astasheva MD, Russian State Medical University, and her colleague) in the examination of high-risk, pre-term infants at three NICU units (Willis-Knighton Medical Center, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Christus Schumpert Medical Center) in Shreveport, LA.

September 2008 – Dr. Richards Makes 1st Trip to Moscow
Traveling with a group of ophthalmologists from LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA, USA, Dr. Richards makes initial contact with pediatric ophthalmologists in Moscow. He works alongside Russian State Medical University’s Irina Astasheva MD, and her team of pediatric ophthalmologists, who provide ROP screening and treatment throughout Moscow. Dr. Astasheva is taught intensively on the current methods of laser treatment of ROP. Dr. Richards presents “Current Diagnosis and Treatment of ROP” to ophthalmologists at Fydorov Microsurgery Institute, Moscow. Dr. Richards and his then-ophthalmology resident Natalia Potapova MD organize a round table discussion on ROP and visit NICUs, and Donald Johnson, NICU nurse/LSUHSC professor presents “The Importance of Monitoring Oxygen in the NICU” to over 100 neonatologists and NICU nurses.

October 2007 – Russia Reaches Out: The Beginning…
Alan B. Richards MD, pediatric ophthalmologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC), Shreveport, LA, USA, is approached by one of his 2nd year residents, Natalia Potapova MD, (initially trained in Moscow), regarding a recent phone call from pediatric ophthalmologist Irina Astasheva MD, Russian State University, Moscow. Dr. Astasheva has a long list of questions for Dr. Potapova and requested more information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of ROP causing an epidemic of childhood blindness throughout the Russian Federation. Dr. Richards begins researching ways to share knowledge to fellow physicians to prevent their helpless infants from going blind.