UTMB ophthalmology chair awarded grant for groundbreaking research
Posted: December 21, 2009
GALVESTON, Texas - Eye doctors may soon administer drugs into patients' eyes using pulsing light instead of needles. Groundbreaking research at The University of Texas Medical Branch department of ophthalmology and visual sciences has yielded promising results in laboratory tests, according to Dr. Bernard Godley, lead researcher and department chair.
A recently awarded $50,000 Texas Ignition Fund grant will help advance the unique research, said Godley, also a retinal specialist. The University of Texas System Board of Regents grant program is meant to accelerate the commercial application of products developed through research at UT campuses.
Millions of eye patients in the U.S. could benefit from the non-invasive method rather than receive shots in their eyes for treatment of infections, age-related macular degeneration and other problems, Godley said. The method also would be safer and more comfortable for eye patients, some of whom must receive monthly injections.
Godley described the procedure: "Drug molecules in a gelatin disk similar to a soft contact are activated using pulsing light. The molecules begin to flutter like a butterfly and move through the eye wall into the eye."
"It would be a breakthrough in the treatment of eye diseases," Godley said, adding that the grant comes at a critical time to advance funding and research discoveries for the project, titled "Photokinetic Ocular Drug Delivery."
The UTMB department of ophthalmology and visual sciences includes multi-specialty eye centers in Galveston and Friendswood, as well as the UTMB Age-related Macular Degeneration Center and the Ophthalmology Clinical Research Center, both located in Galveston.
UTMB Ophthalmology Chair Bernard Godley appointed to national eye council
Posted: October 21, 2009
Bernard F. Godley, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the UTMB Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, has been asked by Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, to serve on the National Advisory Eye Council.
Dr. Godley is one of 12 individuals appointed by Secretary Sebelius. The council's role is to advise, assist, consult with and make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Serves and the director of the National Eye Institute on matters related to the institute’s policies and activities.
Godley said that the appointment provides an opportunity to advance the department's mission: To be a leading international ophthalmology center providing excellence in patient service, education, research, and leadership based on core values of compassion, professional integrity, competence and teamwork.
Garland D. Anderson, MD, dean of the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said, "This four-year appointment is a reflection of Dr. Godley's achievements in the field of ophthalmology, particularly for his ongoing research in the area of molecular mechanisms of age-related macular degeneration and the effects of antioxidants on retinal pigment epithelial cells."
Anderson added, "Under Dr. Godley's leadership, the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences has expanded vision research and patient services at its Galveston location and opened a new University Eye Clinic in Friendswood. In addition, the UTMB Ophthalmology clinics consistently rate in the top percentiles in the Press Ganey patient satisfaction survey."
Dr. Godley joined UTMB in 1996 as associate professor and was the inaugural holder of the David Weeks Distinguished Professorship in Ophthalmology. He has been recognized as the Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar and received the Kaiser Family Foundation Merit Award. He also holds the Roberston-Poth Distinguished Chair in Ophthalmology.
Patients give UTMB Health Eye Centers high marks
Posted: July 27, 2009
How satisfied are patients with their experience at UTMB Health Eye Centers in Friendswood and Galveston? Very satisfied, according to recent survey results.
The Friendswood eye center earned a 99 percent patient satisfaction score among patients surveyed in April and June, making it the top-rated clinic among the 25 clinics of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston that were surveyed. The Galveston eye center ranked fifth with 89 percent. These scores are more than twice as high as the average ranking among the thousands of clinics whose patients are surveyed by the national survey firm, Press Ganey Associates.
The eye centers, which provide a full range of ophthalmology services, have raised patient satisfaction scores through a concerted effort that includes leadership training, culture change and a focus on excellence.
Dr. Bernard Godley, chairman for the UTMB department of ophthalmology and visual sciences, said, "Excellent customer service and patient care are our top priorities. For more than three years we have had a focus on excellence and have seen steady gains in patient satisfaction scores."
Godley said the eye clinic doctors and staff work as a team to implement practices that are proven to increase patient satisfaction.
For example, before entering an exam room, a doctor will knock on the door. Doctors and staff introduce themselves and briefly describe what to expect during treatments. When meeting a new patient, they also give a brief summary of their background and training.
"We connect with them to make them feel comfortable and confident that we will deliver on their expectations for the visit," Godley said. "At the end of the visit, we thank them for the opportunity to take care of them."
Godley added that the staff also plays an integral role, beginning with that first verbal handshake over the phone. He said the staff sets the stage for excellence based on that initial contact.
"When they come to either of our eye centers, we have convenient free parking, a modern facility and pictures and bios of our care providers. Patients can see who is going go to take care of them and learn about their backgrounds."
The eye center team also understands that reducing patient wait times has been a key to customer satisfaction. By tracking the length of patient visits and educating doctors and staff about their roles, the average length of patient visits has been cut in half to less than 90 minutes.
Dr. Erik van Kuijk, vice chairman and medical director of the ophthalmology and visual sciences, worked closely with eye center manager Sammye Hesser to align the entire eye center team around consistent best practices and common goals.
"We are in the business of caring for people. We want to ensure that they have a great experience when they come to one of our eye centers. And if they do, they will be more likely to refer their friends and family," van Kuijk said.
Godley shares best practices with Chinese eye specialists
Posted: July 27, 2009
Dr. Bernard Godley, chairman of the UTMB Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (OVS), traveled to China recently to share best practices related to quality patient service and residency programs.
Godley spoke to approximately 100 ophthalmologists, ophthalmologists in training and faculty at the Department of Ophthalmology, First Affiliated Hospital, Jilin University. The university is in Changchun, capital of Jilin Province in Northeastern China.
"I was invited to lecture on how we train eye specialists in the American health care system. I talked about our approach to customer service and our residency training program."
UTMB eye centers in Friendswood and Galveston, which provide a full range of ophthalmology services, have raised and maintained high patient satisfaction scores through a concerted effort that includes leadership training, culture change and a focus on excellence.
By revitalizing and strengthening the OVS residency training program, the department has drawn top candidates from around the globe.
Godley, who has developed collaborative relationships with the Jilin University hospital and three other eye departments across China, said there are a number of mutual benefits.
"We all benefit from building durable, long-term relationships to share training and research opportunities," he said, adding that two visiting Chinese scientists participated in research at OVS.