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October 24, 1977

Medical News

JAMA. 1977;238(17):1803-1808. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280180007001

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Project FOCUS ophthalmologists give care in underserved nations  Fifteen years ago some Illinois ophthalmologists founded an organization named "FOCUS," an acronym for Foreign Ophthalmological Care from the United States. The aim was to voluntarily provide eye care to people in nations with few or no eye physicians.Since then, more than 200 Project FOCUS physicians have paid their own air fares to a number of countries, including Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Panama, and Nigeria. Most are Americans, and they generally leave their regular practice for one to two months each time they serve in Project FOCUS. In fact, ophthalmologists who have worked as FOCUS volunteers usually ask to serve again, according to the program directors. The rewards are altruism and better knowledge of exotic eye diseases.The project was started in 1962 by James McDonald, MD, and Thomas Stamm, MD, both of Loyola University of Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine,