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Eye Health Hero: Recivall P. Salongcay

Recivall P. Salongcay

Dr Recivall Salongcay is an ophthalmologist, retina specialist and vision researcher. He completed his residency training in ophthalmology and clinical fellowship in vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at The Medical City Eye and Vision Institute in Metro Manila, Philippines where he served as Chief Resident and Chief Fellow. As a trainee, he was voted Best Mentor by his peers twice (in 2015 and 2018) and was also awarded Best Mentor in Ophthalmology by the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (in 2015). During this time, he also organised multiple scientific symposia and postgraduate courses, patient engagement and education events, and fundraising activities to help cover the cost of eye surgeries of indigent social service patients of the hospital.

Currently, Recivall is a researcher at the Philippine Eye Research Institute (PERI) where his work focuses on the application of teleophthalmology principles and novel technologies in diabetic eye screening. The Remote Retinal Evaluation Collaboration in Health – Diabetic Retinopathy (REACH-DR) Project aims to establish the framework for a national diabetic eye screening programme (DESP) in the Philippines using mobile imaging devices and with appropriately trained personnel (photographers and image graders). This project that Recivall is involved in has the potential to influence diabetic eye disease screening and surveillance in low-middle income countries especially in remote underserved areas. Recently, the REACH-DR team also deployed a validated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm in the pilot DESP, marking the first use of AI in ophthalmology in the Philippines. Additionally, Recivall has extensive experience in retinal image analysis and clinical research, and has presented posters and free papers both locally and internationally. For his research work, he was awarded the ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) Developing Country Eye Researcher Fellowship (2020/2021) and the EASDec (European Association for the Study of Diabetic Eye Complications) Award-winning Abstract for Young Scientist (2021).

Prior to pursuing ophthalmology, Recivall completed a Master’s degree in Public Management (Health Systems Development) which he obtained while working as a rural health physician in a remote area under the Philippine Department of Health’s Doctors to the Barrios (communities) programme. Because of this mixed background in ophthalmology and public health, Recivall’s career goals are anchored on avoidable blindness prevention through local and national eye services that utilise evidence-based, cost- and time-efficient strategies.

Recivall has excellent work ethics. He has consistently demonstrated diligence, determination in his work and a desire to further his knowledge and skills. He is a team builder and is always available to assist his colleagues. Recivall’s experience not only as a clinician-scientist but as a public health manager is an asset as we prepare to deploy REACH-DR on a wider scale. His interpersonal skills, genial nature and ability to balance clinical, research, teaching and administrative tasks make him well-suited for future leadership roles. Furthermore, his integrity is unblemished and he is of strong moral fibre. I am confident that he will be a worthy recipient of the Eye Health Heroes Future Leader award and I recommend him in the highest terms.

“I believe that the impact ophthalmologists make to patients’ quality of life is unmatched in other fields of medicine, and through the years I have realized that it is with quality ophthalmic research that I can cast a wider net and reach a broader population of people needing eyecare. Through my current role, I was able to build linkages and collaborations across various fields. I am really grateful for the opportunity to work on the REACH-DR Project as I know that it will make a lasting impact on the lives of people with diabetic eye disease in the Philippines.”

– Recivall P. Salongcay