Eye doctor in surgery.

Volunteer Faculty

Our world renowned Volunteer Faculty are the heartbeat of our training programs, both on the Flying Eye Hospital and in partner hospitals around the world. For nearly 40 years the keystone of our work has been to teach and train eye teams to fight blindness on their own - we couldn't do it without their hard work and dedication.

One of the biggest problems in eye health is the lack of an adequately trained workforce. Our global network of volunteer medical professionals give up their free time each year to share their amazing skills with friends and partners in communities around the world.

In 2019 alone Orbis deployed 144 Volunteer Faculty to train local eye care teams on our Flying Eye Hospital and in local hospitals.

This is the very reason Orbis was formed - to provide ongoing training and support. Comprised of world leading experts in eye health, our global force of over 400 volunteer ophthalmologists, nurses, anesthesiologists and biomedical engineers from over 30 countries, share their skills with local teams to help improve the level of eye care for generations to come. We're proud to say nearly 20% of these selfless volunteers are Canadian!

By working with our partner hospitals and their staff, we create teaching programs tailored specifically for their needs. Our volunteers conduct this training and pass on the tools to undertake more complicated procedures, improve surgical outcomes and most importantly of all, restore sight to those in need of assistance.

Dr. Brian Leonard (Ottawa, ON) is the longest serving Orbis Volunteer Faculty and veteran of over 70 programs spanning more than four decades.

Our Volunteer Faculty also mentor people from around the world through our telemedicine platform, Cybersight. With 90% of the world's visually impaired population living in low income settings, this training is making eye care more accessible where it’s needed most.

Thanks to your support and the help of our Volunteer Faculty, children can see their parents for the first time; an elderly man regains his vision meaning their grandchild can go to school and no longer needs to be a carergiver; or a mother can receive surgery and return to work to support her family.

Meet some Canadian members of our Volunteer Faculty

Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Simon Holland

Longtime Orbis Volunteer Faculty member and Chair of Orbis Canada, Dr. Simon Holland, is the recipient of the prestigious Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's 2018 Mentor of the Year Award, Region 1.

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Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Simon Holland

Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy

Since 2006, Dr. El-Defrawy has volunteered on ten Orbis projects, helping people from countries such as Niger, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Mongolia and Syria. We talk to him about the joy he feels seeing someone regain their sight and the importance of encouraging the next generation of Canada's eye care workers to learn about and support Orbis.

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Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy

Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Lesya Shuba

Having worked as a clinical ophthalmologist for 15 years, as well as being an associate professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Dr. Lesya Shuba was eager to share her knowledge with eye health workers in Ghana and help them better treat eye conditions like glaucoma.

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Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Lesya Shuba

Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Brian Leonard

With more than 70 Orbis programs under his belt, Dr. Brian Leonard is one of the organization’s longest serving volunteer doctors. Dr. Leonard, from Ottawa, Ontario, joined the Orbis faulty in 1984. Since then, he has visited locations around the world to support our training programs.

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Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Brian Leonard

Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Carlos Solarte

With nearly 60 Flying Eye Hospital and hospital-based training programs to his credit over the span of 18 years, Dr. Carlos Solarte has truly seen and experienced everything Orbis offers around the world.

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Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Carlos Solarte

Heroes of Orbis: Monelle Ross

Monelle Ross is a Canadian nurse with over 30 years of experience, who has flown all over the world with the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital. Monelle, who has always been drawn to nursing by her strong desire to make a difference in people’s lives, completed her education in Ottawa, ON. where she dreamed of travelling to Ethiopia and 'saving the world'.

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Heroes of Orbis: Monelle Ross

Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Patrick Yang

Dr. Patrick Yang is a Vancouver-based ophthalmologist and an associate member of the Orbis Volunteer Faculty. We sat down with Dr. Yang to discuss what inspires him most about volunteering with Orbis and the pride he feels about Canada's contribution to Orbis's sight-saving work.

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Heroes of Orbis: Dr. Patrick Yang

Heroes of Orbis: Alice Lee

It was 2011 when nurse Alice Lee toured the Flying Eye Hospital during the plane’s visit to Vancouver. She had heard the Orbis story and was impressed by the world’s only fully accredited surgical eye hospital on an aircraft.

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Heroes of Orbis: Alice Lee