What is PILLAR?

The Program In Lasting Leadership and Academic Representation (PILLAR) is established and supported by the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University and the National Medical Association’s Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Program. This 3-day (2-night) intensive, in-person mentorship program targets ophthalmology residents who are underrepresented in medicine (as a starting point, please see AAMC definition, linked here).

The PILLAR program focuses on various career pathways within academic ophthalmology, how to make the most of residency to successfully navigate into fellowship and academic careers, the joys and challenges of these career pathways, and other topics such as negotiating for a job, academic promotion, work-life integration, etc. 

Led by ophthalmology faculty from around the country, we hope to provide a meaningful and informative mentoring experience to help guide ophthalmology residents along their career paths.

This Year's Conference

Friday, September 27, 2024 through Sunday, September 29, 2024

The Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA

Roundtrip airfare, 2 nights of hotel lodging, and all meals during program hours will be covered by the program. 

Previous Topics

  • Career Paths in Academic Ophthalmology
  • Path I Chose and Why (Faculty Testimonials)
  • Grants and Research Funding
  • Fellowships
  • The Academic Life (First Job, Academic Tracks, Ranks and Promotion, etc)
  • Inclusion and Diversity: Experiences in Academia
  • Work-Life Balance, Time Management, Resilience & Serendipity
  • Mentoring, To Give and Receive


Play the videos below to hear residents and faculty mentors talk about what they enjoyed most about their time at PILLAR.