International Women's Day: Dominique Geoffrion - Student Champion for Orbis

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the work of Orbis volunteer, Dominique Geoffrion, who has helped to develop and launch the Orbis Future Vision Leaders program - all while pursuing her MD-PhD at McGill University in Montreal.

Growing up, Dominique Geoffrion was always interested in science and, as she set about planning her future, she knew she also wanted a career where she could help others. Now an MD-PhD student at McGill University in Montreal, she is already finding ways to combine her two passions, including her recent work helping to develop the new Orbis Future Vision Leaders program.

Dominique Geoffrion, BSc, MD-PhD Student at McGill University

Currently pursuing her medical degree with a passion for ophthalmology and research in artificial corneal transplantation, Geoffrion was inspired to get involved after learning about the Orbis mission. Hoping to specialize in ophthalmology and planning to be involved in global health care after her training, she was keen to find ways to enhance her education while supporting others.

In the past, I've been involved in the organization of conferences for Doctors Without Borders. And for me, Orbis is kind of the Doctors Without Borders for eye care. I was curious about the global surgery field. I looked into Orbis a bit more and realized there were no student opportunities per se. I wanted to create a way for medical students and residents to get involved.

Dominique Geoffrion

MD-PhD student & President of the Orbis Future Vision Leaders

Through the Orbis Future Vision Leaders program, Geoffrion hopes to encourage other eye health trainees to incorporate the Orbis mission into their careers moving forward. She is already working with the Orbis Canada team to plan a new speaker series aimed at eye health trainees, as well as looking at ways to get medical residents involved with fundraising to support Orbis programs.

“I hope to provide trainees with opportunities to learn more about Orbis, what they do, what they do abroad, and how you can enroll after finishing residency,” she explains. Geoffrion also sees this as a chance for young ophthalmology trainees to find mentorship opportunities and enhance their training.

Drawing from Orbis's gender-centric work, the program will also have a special speaker session focusing on gender disparities and related challenges in global eye health.

“I am very grateful to have had many wonderful female mentors throughout my life and studies. Through my PhD research, I found in Dr. Mona Harissi-Dagher a remarkable mentor who enables me to thrive every day.”

Dominique in the operating room with Dr. Saama Sabeti, MD, MPH, Herzig Eye Institute Ottawa, and Dr. Cristina Bostan, MD, MSc, Université de Montréal.

Geoffrion wishes to offer female trainees the chance of having positive female role models to rely on through the Orbis Future Vision Leaders program.

Ultimately, she established the group to empower Canadian medical students and postgraduates to fight avoidable blindness. Her initial desire to merge a love of science with the ability to change the lives of people in need has already come full circle just as her future is taking shape.