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Applications are now being accepted! 

Calling all medical students and ophthalmology residents/fellows underrepresented in medicine or who have an interest in improving care in underserved communities.
We invite your submission!



For new users, you are required to register for a Judgify account by completing your entrant profile.

*NOTE: You MUST upload a headshot to complete the application.


For existing users, please login with your entrant profile details.

Application Submission Deadline:
March 31, 2024


Notification of Program Finalists:
May 31, 2024


NMA Annual Convention:
August 2-7, 2024

New York City, NY

Each year, the National Medical Association – Ophthalmology Section sponsors the Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Program and selects the top medical students and residents/fellows from our nation’s medical schools and ophthalmology residency programs to present their research in ophthalmology at the National Medical Association Annual Assembly. 

Program Eligibility and Criteria


A Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Program announcement is sent through the Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology (AUPO) to all ophthalmology residency programs, with online abstract submission due on March 31 of each year. Information about the Rabb-Venable Program is presented at the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) annual meetings. It is also sent to the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS).

There are two categories for online abstract submission: medical students and resident/fellows. Individuals may also attend the NMA Ophthalmology Section meeting as an observer to view high-quality presentations, network, and explore research opportunities available to them. Individuals are only able to submit their names as an observer once and must submit an abstract in the future if they would like to be involved in the program.

Applicants must submit an abstract of original and unpublished research in ophthalmology. Research can be in any ophthalmologic subspecialty and should emphasize the latest developments in understanding, diagnosing, preventing, and treating the many sight-threatening diseases that affect minority patients and the general population. Applicants must be the first author on the project.


Rabb-Venable applications are simple and easy because our eyes are on your success.


We recognize that medical students, residents, and fellows in ophthalmology lead busy lives. So, we’ve kept the process straightforward. Have questions? We’ve got answers.
Finalists Selection and NMA Convention


There are 15 judges on the Rabb-Venable Scientific Committee who review and grade each submission, choosing the finalists whose abstracts represent the most outstanding work. Based on the score, applicants are invited to either present a paper or poster. For an on-site meeting, travel grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute R13 program are awarded to finalists

Once the top applicants are chosen based on their scores, they will be notified by the Executive committee with the presentation dates and times. Finalists will present their research followed by a question and answer session. Judges are selected from the Scientific Committee as well as NMA Ophthalmology Section members. The judges grade the scientific research based on content, clarity, slide format, presentation style, and ability to answer questions from the audience. Each category is scored from 0-5. The eight presentations posting the highest scores are selected to present the following week at the NMA Ophthalmology Section meeting.

All Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Program participants are expected to attend the Ophthalmology Section’s three-day scientific assembly to learn more about cutting-edge research and developments, as well as to meet and network with NMA members.  


How the Rabb-Venable Program Benefits You


The Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Program offers multiple benefits to participants. As part of the NMA Ophthalmology Section meeting, participants attend special pre-meeting lectures and workshops. Topics include how to submit a competitive application for an ophthalmology residency, how NEI funding works, effective public speaking and communications skills, and interview skills. Additionally, in collaboration with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) via the Diversity Committee, Rabb-Venable winners are encouraged to submit abstracts and attend the ARVO annual meeting and a grant writing workshop.

We are thrilled that the applicant pool as well as the quality of the research presentations continue to increase every year. We welcome your submission and look forward to meeting you!

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