uOttawa MD alumna wins 2019 Méritas Tabaret Award for Alumni Achievement
Rosa Braga-Mele (MD ’93): Doing what’s right for patients
Thousands of Canadians enjoy better vision thanks to the achievements of the 2019 winner of the Méritas Tabaret Award for Alumni Achievement, Dr. Rosa Braga-Mele (MD ’93). A renowned surgeon and innovator, Braga-Mele has focused her career on improving cataract surgery through better patient care, surgical practice, technology and training for surgeons.
While in medical school, Braga-Mele’s first choice of specialty wasn’t ophthalmology, she says. The lack of internship space in general surgery — her first choice — led her to follow up on a professor’s suggestion that she try ophthalmology. She’s never looked back. “I’m lucky to wake up every morning to do something I love,” she says.
A sought-after speaker, Braga-Mele was voted by her peers as one of the top 50 opinion leaders in cataract and refractive surgery. Innovations she has pioneered include microincision and laser-assisted surgery, which help patients recover more quickly, with better vision, than standard techniques. Working with industry engineers, she has also created her own instruments and developed techniques to enhance safety and effectiveness.
Braga-Mele’s surgical, research and hands-on technological development knowledge come together in her role as professor of ophthalmology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. “My biggest passion has always been teaching students at the residency level,” she says. Her teaching skills have earned her multiple accolades, including seven Silver Needle awards for best resident surgical teacher and her medical school’s 2016 Excellence in Community-Based Teaching Award in 2016.
Recent research she carried out with colleagues attests to the effectiveness of the training UofT surgical residents receive — cataract surgeries done by residents were as problem-free as those carried out by staff surgeons. “Through all the people I’ve taught to become good surgeons and clinicians, I’ve reached so many other patients,” she says.
The keys to her success are what she also prescribes to her three sons: hard work and perseverance. “It’s doing what’s right for you, for your community, for your patients,” she says.
For complete list of 2019 Alumni Association Awards of Excellence winners, read the full article.