Cover Focus | Mar/Apr '15

Cover Focus: Zaina Al-Mohtaseb, MD

I first met Mitchell Weikert, MD, during my ambulatory clinical rotation as a second-year medical student. Little did I know at the time that he would have a huge influence on my career.

I first met Mitchell Weikert, MD, during my ambulatory clinical rotation as a second-year medical student. Little did I know at the time that he would have a huge influence on my career. During that rotation, I quickly fell in love with ophthalmology, and he became my mentor.

Weikert Graduation

Drs. Weikert and Al-Mohtaseb

Dr. Weikert is a great doctor both clinically and surgically, and he has a hilarious, dry, witty sense of humor. Early on, it became clearly evident how ethical he is—doing the right thing is always most important. Beneath the stern exterior is a caring doctor who sees patients on a Saturday because they can’t get time off work to make their appointments.

Although he made fun of my inquisitive nature and endless enthusiasm, Dr. Weikert still patiently answered my many questions. I worked with him on multiple research projects throughout medical school. Despite wearing many hats, he still invested his time in guiding me through the residency application process. When I matched at Baylor for residency, I was able to continue working with him both clinically and academically.

During my third year of residency, I was elected to be Chief Resident. Because he was the Residency Program Director, I worked very closely with him and discovered that we shared similar passions in wanting to improve residency education. He always offered great advice but also gave me room to lead.

Very soon after I matched at Bascom Palmer for my fellowship in cornea, cataract, and refractive surgery, Dr. Weikert volunteered his time to staff me on my first DSEK and PKP in preparation for the coming year. His step-by-step approach to surgery and methodical way of explaining concepts makes him a gifted surgical teacher. He is very patient while staffing but still enjoys the process—his sarcasm is most apparent at those times. Once, when I nicked a blood vessel that resulted in a subconjunctival hemorrhage while injecting lidocaine, he looked at me and sarcastically said, “Nice job, that will make it very easy for you to get the conjunctival autograft.”

After fellowship, I was excited to join the faculty at Baylor and happy to work alongside him as Associate Residency Program Director. We have the same goals for residency education, and his realism balances my optimism, as we look for ways to improve the residency program. It has been nice to be able to share my different experiences from Bascom Palmer with him, and we continue to bounce ideas off each other clinically, surgically, and academically.

All in all, Dr. Weikert embodies all of the traits that make him a great surgeon, clinician, ethical person, mentor, close friend, and now colleague. I look forward to many years of working together and always appreciate his continued support.

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