Christina Weng, MD, MBA, on tenacity, teleretina, and truffled egg salad.

By Audina Berrocal, MD
 

Tell me about yourself—upbringing, education, etc. What has made you who you are today?

I am an assistant professor of ophthalmology and the vitreoretinal fellowship program director at the Baylor College of Medicine. After my undergraduate studies at Northwestern University, I went to the University of Michigan Medical School. During my time there, I detoured to business school to pursue an MBA. My residency and surgical retina fellowship training took place at the Wilmer and Bascom Palmer Eye Institutes. I was born and raised in Michigan, and the solid work ethic and values of middle America form the core of who I am today. There’s been a lot of moving in the past 10 years, so I’m really happy to call Houston my new home!

What are your hopes for your career?

I want my work to be meaningful, and I hope my research advances our field. I also hope that my teaching and mentorship help mold trainees into skilled, compassionate physicians. Mostly, I strive to continue providing the best possible care to my patients every single day.

How do you see yourself changing the field of retina?

It’s such an exciting time for retina right now—we have artificial retinal prostheses, retinal gene therapy, and incredible imaging technology—but we face a major roadblock with patient accessibility. The reality is that we must work within the confines of limited resources. I’d like to leverage my business background to study how we can most cost-effectively serve the greatest number of people. One of my current areas of focus is teleretinal screening, which could provide care to exponentially more patients than would ever be possible through conventional means.

What motivates you?

Curiosity, the potential to touch lives, and a healthy dose of self-doubt. These are the things that propel me forward.

What defines joy?

Sleeping in on the rare weekend when you have nothing planned—total bliss. Most of my friends know that I am a huge night owl, so the early-rising surgeon lifestyle does not come to me naturally.

What one word describes your essence?

Tenacious.

What do you do for fun?

Running and music—oftentimes together. There’s something about the monotony of running that I find very relaxing. I run at least one race per month, and I love that I can do it year-round in Texas. Music-wise, I’m really into synth-pop and EDM at the moment. It’s so cool to me that we’re in an era in which music can be created without a single instrument.

What about you would surprise most people who know you?

I’m the quintessential introvert. This might be surprising because I’m often described as outgoing, sociable, and maybe even outspoken. But I savor my alone time—that’s when I really recharge.

Why did you choose retina?

I was attracted to the challenge of retina surgery and the fact that every case is unique—and the retina is simply beautiful.

What has been the hardest thing you have faced in your life, and how have you learned from it?

The sudden and unexpected passing of one of my childhood friends. It reminded me that life is fragile and fleeting. I try to live life to the fullest and never take anything for granted.

What is the best kept secret of living in Houston?

The truffled egg salad sandwich from a place called Local Foods. I swear I could eat it every day.

What is your favorite surgical case?

Any one in which the patient’s vision improves! Hey, it’s retina—never forget that we’re the only subspecialty to divide success into visual and anatomic.

Section Editor Audina Berrocal, MD
• professor of clinical ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, Miami, Fla. 
ABerrocal@med.miami.edu

Christina Weng, MD, MBA
• assistant professor of ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
christina.weng@bcm.edu

 

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About New Retina MD

New Retina MD delivers cutting-edge content to retina specialists in their first 15 years of practice. Each issue provides fresh insight from younger physicians plus established mentors on clinical and nonclinical issues affecting ophthalmologists in the earlier stages of their careers. NRMD features surgical pearls, clinical research endeavors, practice management, medical reimbursement and policy, continuing educational requirements, financial planning, innovations, and more.