Kershner to be honored as hero in health care education
In the eyes of the Palm Beach County Medical Society, Robert M. Kershner, M.D., is a hero.
Dr. Kershner, who is chairman, medical director and the lead professor for Palm Beach State College’s Ophthalmic Medical Technology program, will be honored at PBCMS’s upcoming 15th Annual Heroes in Medicine Awards luncheon for his contributions in health care higher education. The event will be held April 20 at the Kravis Center in downtown West Palm Beach.
More than 40 adults and teens have been selected as 2018 Heroes in Medicine in 15 categories after a rigorous review of nominations from the society’s 1,400 physician and physician assistant members, as well as health care professionals, educators, business people and others in the county. All awardees, including Kershner, will be considered for the top award of 2018 Hero of the Year, to be announced at the event before an anticipated audience of 400-500 people. The luncheon’s net proceeds support Project Access, a physician-led network linking physicians and other health care providers, offering comprehensive care and services at no cost to local, uninsured children and adults.
“I am proud to be selected, though I never really consider myself a hero,” Kershner said. “Rather I believe this award is a recognition of the excellence of our Ophthalmic Medical Technology program, it’s Palm Beach Gardens campus, administration, staff, faculty and the students and graduates who, every day, make us proud to be here.”
Kershner developed the Associate in Science degree program in Ophthalmic Medical Technology from scratch and launched it in 2012. An eye physician and surgeon who has performed over 28,000 cataract, refractive and glaucoma procedures, Kershner has practiced in Palm Beach, Boston and Tucson, Ariz. He personally knows the value of ophthalmic medical technologists, who support ophthalmologists in the evaluation of vision and treatment of patients with eye disorders. Without highly trained technologists, ophthalmologists can’t do their jobs as effectively or help as many patients.
The program’s students—who have come from 18 countries over the last six years—train in a state-of-the-art facility designed by Kershner, featuring a fully equipped examination room, laboratory and surgical suite. They use Modernizing Medicine’s electronic health record system for ophthalmology, but the entire curriculum is also paper-free. Kershner created the first totally digital learning system for ophthalmic medical technology education. Students access all audio, video and graphics content, notes, study guides, assignments, quizzes and exams from either a tablet or mobile device.
Beyond the classroom, each student does three different clinical externships over three semesters in the two-year A.S. degree program. Kershner and his team have enlisted about 40 externship sites, and these local ophthalmic practices, surgical centers and clinics snap up students for full-time positions as soon as they graduate. The program is still the first of its kind in South Florida and is one of only four nationwide to be accredited for Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist training, the highest level designated by the International Council of Accreditation for Allied Ophthalmic Education Programs.
Kershner is recognized as an international leader in cataract and refractive surgery and a world expert on visual neuroadaptation and the surgical correction of astigmatism. Today, in addition to his role at PBSC, he is a sought-after industry consultant and widely published in medical journals and textbooks. A recipient of more than 40 awards for medical excellence and listed in several “best” ophthalmologist guides, Kershner has also developed numerous medical devices, surgical instruments (many that bear his name), lasers, and intraocular lens implants for cataract, refractive and glaucoma surgery.