VBS’, Vit-Buckle Society, annual meeting attendance has grown year after year for the last six years. VBS started as a small dinner meeting at ASRS and now, host their annual meeting at a large venue with a world-renowned retina faculty. The ongoing commitment of VBS’ Executive Committee is unprecedented. This year’s program agenda is superb and holds true to their meeting formula for success that innovation is key. VBS V will be in Las Vegas starting on Thursday, April 6 – Saturday, April 8. Live surgery will be one of the 2017 VBS cornerstones featuring surgical platforms and will include 3D technology. Drs. Victor H. Gonzalez, David G. Miller, Kirk H. Packo and Joachim van Calster will be operating.
The VBS Executive Committee will again lead interactive discussions from IOL Gymnastics: Getting the Job Done Right to the first Women Drivers Panel. A favorite are the Keynote Lectures with Dr. Dean Eliott, VBS Lifetime Mentorship Award, and Dr. Maria H. Berrocal interviewed by John W. Kitchens, MD. RetinaLink met with VBS Executive Committee members, Drs. Thomas A. Albini, Audina M. Berrocal, R.V. Paul Chan and Charles C. Wykoff at the Retina World Congress in Fort Lauderdale to get their perspective on this year’s meeting.
RetinaLink (RL): VBS has increased their attendance each year over the last six years. What do you attribute this success to?
Drs. Albini, Berrocal & Chan: We attribute VBS’ success to changing the meeting format each year. It’s never the same meeting ~ innovation is truly the key. We incorporate many components, wet labs, live surgery and retina luminaries. All of these are paramount to our success. This year we will host women’s breakfast and Genentech will sponsor 20 retina fellows through a travel grant.
RL: How does VBS continue to grow and not lose the ability to incorporate and encourage interactive discussions?
Dr. Albini: We encourage our speakers to deliver their presentation and then, listen to ensure we engage the audience. It’s a practical format that really works for everyone.
Dr. Wykoff: The open discussion format of VBS is unique. Our ongoing objective is to maximize audience participation and we constantly consider how to make it better. But, we are at a critical junction. As the annual VBS meeting grows, it becomes more of a challenge to maintain the ability to interact. Granularity can diminish as the meeting attendance increases. However, the VBS Executive Committee continues to actively consider how to maintain that small-meeting feel where everyone is welcome to engage and try innovative ways to maximize engagement.
RL: As an Attending Physician, why would you encourage your Fellows to attend VBS?
Drs. Albini, Berrocal and Chan: VBS’ Executive Committee embraces an attitude that we learn from each other. Sharing new techniques or a better way to suture IOL’s is the reality of operating. Your day will not always be perfect and understanding how to work towards to best surgical resolution is key especially for younger retina specialists starting their career. We, the VBS Executive Committee, ensure all the faculty and VBS attendees are respectful of young surgeons and discussing various complications. You don’t want to feel as though your question is not important. Dr. Berrocal added, “we want to understand complications to highlight best practices” and “there’s not a right answer, there are numerous answers,” according to Dr. Albini.
RL: As a mentor to Fellows, what is one pearl you would now offer?
Dr. Wykoff: VBS is “real world retina.” We discuss what you see and do every day in clinic and the OR and how to improve. While VBS is a surgically-oriented meeting, we cover medical-retina controversies as well. Anything in the retina world is fair game. We encourage everyone to talk and share their experiences and constructively challenge each other. “I’m regularly impressed how open people are,” added Dr. Wykoff.
RL: So, what’s new for VBS V? Different format? What is the differentiator from 2016?
Drs. Albini, Berrocal and Chan: The differentiator for VBS V is we will be hosting an industry lunch, Retina Marketplace. The Executive Committee will be in attendance and it will provide an opportunity to navigate the retina marketplace better and what industry provides to retina specialists. We always incorporate new speakers and strive to create a “new” meeting room. This is achieved by stage placement and seating for the audience. It’s important to have “intimacy” so the audience feels close to the faculty and ultimately, a conversational environment is established so we can all learn from each other.
Dr. Wykoff: Live surgery is certainly a differentiator of VBS. We are also having a special mini session for IOL’s with Drs. M. Ali Khan, Derek Kunimoto, Mark K. Walsh and George A. Williams. Our surgical complications session led by Andy Schimel, MD is always a crowd-pleaser, really offering the audience an opportunity to interact.
We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.
To register for VBS V, click on vitbucklesociety.org
Dr. Thomas Albini can be reached via e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Audina Berrocal can be reached via e-mai email@example.com. Dr. R.V. Paul Chan can be reached via e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Charles Wykoff can be reached via e-mail – email@example.com
Featured photo (L to R): Audina M. Berrocal, MD, John W. Kitchens, MD, R.V. Paul Chan, MD, Charles C. Wykoff, MD, William S. Tasman, MD, Mrs. Alice Lee Tasman, Harry W. Flynn, Jr., MD, Geeta A. Lalwani, MD, Thomas A. Albini, MD, R. Ross Lakhanpal, MD, Derek Kunimoto, MD and Charles W. Mango, MD