An interview with Dr. Jennifer Rahman
For World Glaucoma Week , March 7-13, 2021, we sat down to chat (virtually, of course!) with Dr. Jennifer Rahman, glaucoma specialist and MHCF board member.
Dr. Rahman has been practicing in Winnipeg as a comprehensive eye physician and surgeon, specializing in glaucoma since 2005, and in 2011, founded GEM (Glaucoma and Eye Management) Clinic.
Working with the Eye Care Centre of Excellence, located at Misericordia Health Centre, Dr. Rahman primarily performs glaucoma surgeries. Alongside performing surgery, a large part of glaucoma management is providing education as well as treatment.
Glaucoma is a group of related eye disorders, resulting in progressive damage to the optic nerve that if left undetected/untreated can lead to blindness. It’s the most common cause of irreversible blindness, affecting 78 million people world-wide, according to worldglaucomaweek.org.
“With a diagnosis of glaucoma, most people jump to the conclusion of blindness. While there isn’t a cure, there are ways to manage the condition and prevent further vision loss,” says Dr. Rahman.
Creating awareness, providing education and promoting getting tested are the main objectives behind World Glaucoma Week. Glaucoma is usually associated with older adults, but as Dr. Rahman notes and has seen firsthand, anyone from infants to the elderly can be affected.
Regular eye exams are critical in detecting and managing glaucoma, because the earlier it’s diagnosed, the less damage will be done and more vision will be saved.
“Regardless of age and family history, everyone should get their eyes tested regularly,” says Dr. Rahman. “An optometrist can provide an initial screening of your eye health and refer you to an ophthalmologist if needed.”
It’s recommended that those under the age of 40 go for an eye exam every 2-4 years; from age 40-60 every 2-3 years; and after age 60 every 1-2 years.
“The eye as an organ is so beautiful. Even a small intervention can make a huge difference in a patient’s sight, and in turn, their life.”
As a busy Winnipeg optometrist, Dr. Michelle Georgi has referred many patients to Misericordia for cataract and eye surgery.
Although some were fearful about having the procedures, the Misericordia Health Centre Foundation board member says “because of my job, I hear feedback from my patients. They come back and say how understanding everyone is.”
“The wonderful staff [at the Buhler Eye Care Centre] always give 100 per cent to their patients,” she adds.
Georgi, who has worked as an optometrist for nearly 30 years, says a number of years ago, she was the president of her local optometrist organization and decided it was important to foster a relationship with more organizations.
Working so closely with the Buhler Eye Care Centre, she felt that she would like to give back to the profession. So her eventual role as a member of the MHCF board happened quite naturally.
“I thought we should be supporting Misericordia, so I ended up joining the Foundation’s Gala committee,” says Georgi.
She has served on the Gala committee for six years, two as its chair. Because she was so involved with Gala, Georgi was asked to join the MHCF board.
2017 is Georgi’s fourth year on the board and she says she enjoys the variety of ways it helps with MHCF initiatives.
“The mandate of the board is to support the work of the Misericordia Sisters. Our focus is on raising funds for programs like music therapy and equipment for the centre.”
Georgi says one of her favourite fundraisers is the annual Angel Squad. She takes part each year, dressed as an Angel on the Maryland Bridge and accepting donations from passersby. And she proudly recounts taking part in the Guinness Book of World Records gathering of angels in December 2015 as part of the Angel Squad fundraiser.
At Christmas, she enjoys serving food at dinners held for the staff of Misericordia.
Georgi really enjoys the chance to give back.
“I’m proud of the fact I can be a small part of a great organization that provides such great care to Manitobans. I really do think they do a great job in the Buhler Eye Care Centre in particular. I’m proud to support the things they do there.”
Georgi hasn’t missed a Gala until this year, when she and her husband, who are patriotic Canadians, and Manitobans, went to the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge in France. She says it was a once in a lifetime experience she won’t soon forget.
“There were 30,000 Canadians there. It was really emotional.”
When she’s not working, Georgi enjoys playing tennis and running. She is running her first half marathon this spring.
She says she enjoys being part of the MHCF board and the good work that it does in support of Misericordia.
Jane Emslie joined our board just over a year ago, in February 2014.
With extensive experience working within the health care field in group insurance, benefits consulting, and corporate leadership, Jane adds valuable knowledge and drive to our team.
Jane is the Vice-President of Group and Individual Business at Manitoba Blue Cross, where she has been since 2009. Prior to this, Jane worked as a consultant and in a corporate environment in the insurance industry. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Degree and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Manitoba.
Jane is a volunteer for many local causes; she is a member of the United Way Winnipeg Campaign Cabinet, where she co-chairs the Tech and Finance Division, a Yes! Winnipeg Investment Council Member, and an honorary council member of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She has also served on the local council and National Board of the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute and the Board of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Misericordia is also a local cause that is dear to Jane’s heart.
“I am proud to be a part of an organization that believes a higher standard of care can always be achieved. We see this in the Buhler Eye Care Centre, and in the many excellent programs and facilities that Misericordia has in place for our aging population.”
Jane is a firsthand witness to the impact of compassionate care, as her father is a resident at Misericordia Place.
“Misericordia Health Centre was a great help to my family as we navigated through the complexities and challenges of the healthcare system, looking for the best place to care for my dad. This experience has deepened my commitment to Misericordia – there is so much that we can do to make aging a better experience for Manitoba families and I am proud to be part of that.”
While Jane is in the early days as a board member for MHC Foundation, she has hit the ground running, providing fresh and meaningful insight to our fundraising activities and strategic planning initiatives.
“I have seen firsthand the impact that we can have as a community on our own healthcare system. I look forward to making a difference and to being a part of the next Phase of the Future of Care at Misericordia.”