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Loma Linda University Medical Center Eye Surgeon Taps YouTube

LLUMC eye surgeon is using the web to teach innovative techniques in surgery.

A noted eye surgeon at Loma Linda University Medical Center is creating a stir on the World Wide Web, where his videos teaching innovative techniques in surgery have been viewed by medical students, residents and practicing surgeons more than 72,000 times.

Dr. Howard Gimbel recently marked the second anniversary of the first video he uploaded on YouTube, which has since spawned an entire YouTube channel, the Gimbel Library, encompassing more than 100 videos. The videos, many of which show Dr. Gimbel demonstrating complex and innovative surgical procedures, have become indispensible learning resources for others. He is one of three recipients of this year’s Charles Elliot Weniger Award for Excellence during the 4:30 p.m. worship service Jan. 28 at Loma Linda University Church.

“I think it’s wonderful to be able to share our experience and innovations through that medium,” said Dr. Gimbel, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Loma Linda University Medical Center. A believer in the use of multimedia tools to teach, Gimbel started videotaping some of his surgeries more than 30 years ago. He saw the advent of the Internet and digital video in recent years as a chance to share his knowledge to even more students.

“Dr. Gimbel is known world-wide for his knowledge and skill as an eye surgeon, and he is a teacher at heart,” said Dr. Michael Rauser, vice-chair and residency program director of the Loma Linda University Department of Ophthalmology. “The popularity of the videos on YouTube reflects the respect and admiration that residents and fellow surgeons have for him, and his passion to share his skills with others."

Dr. Gimbel completed his medical degree from Loma Linda University in 1960 and his residency in ophthalmology at the White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1964. He then decided to practice in his birthplace of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In 1984, he opened the first Out-of-Hospital operating rooms for eye surgery in Canada because of his long waiting list for the radically different new small incision cataract surgery, combined with the revolutionary intra-ocular lens implants, that he started doing in 1975.

He was one of the pioneers in these procedures and developed innovations in the surgical techniques that have become world standards. Patients and visiting surgeons came from all around the world. He has always video recorded his surgeries and from these he edits teaching segments of current innovations to present at seminars and conferences around the world.

His passion for teaching has led to 26 satellite and teleconferencing video broadcasts of live eye surgery to major world conferences. He continues his operating room and classroom teaching of students, residents, and fellows at Loma Linda University and at the University of Calgary.

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