Dominique Geoffrion is recognized as a young leader creating meaningful change

A McGill University medical student and former trainee at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is on the 2022 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award winners list. Dominique Geoffrion, PhD, has earned recognition as one of the outstanding women across Canada who create meaningful change in the way they lead within their organizations and communities.

Spanning private, public and not-for-profit sectors, the Top 100 award winners are selected by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Diversity Council of Canada. This year’s winners join a continuing legacy of powerful women with some of Canada’s most iconic Top 100 winners, including The Honourable Rona Ambrose, former Minister of Health of Canada, and The Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine, first African-Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons. Within the McGill family, Julie Quenneville, president of the MUHC Foundation, was an award winner in 2018. Geoffrion’s award is in the RBC Future Launch Future Leaders category, recognizing five exceptional young women, between 15 and 29 years old, who are transforming their communities through innovation, collaboration and courage.

The fight against avoidable blindness

Geoffrion was selected for a Top 100 Award for her academic accomplishments and her involvement in global ophthalmology as founder and president of the Orbis Future Vision Leaders (OFVL) program. A new Orbis initiative uniting students and ophthalmology residents and staff in the fight against avoidable blindness, the OFVL program offers networking opportunities for its members across all Canadian medical universities, as well as learning sessions about Orbis programs, including the Boston keratoprosthesis projects in Bangladesh and China, and others in Africa and Asia. Geoffrion’s connection to Orbis, the leading international non-profit dedicated to curing and preventing blindness worldwide in vulnerable populations, grew alongside her academic work.

Now a fourth-year medical student at McGill University, in 2021 Geoffrion earned her PhD in ophthalmology in the Department of Experimental Surgery as part of McGill’s combined MD/PhD Program. As a research trainee in the Child Health and Human Development Programat the RI MUHC, she completed her doctoral studies under the joint supervision of Dr. Robert Koenekoop (RI-MUHC) and Dr. Mona Harissi-Dagher (Department of Ophthalmology, Université de Montréal).

“My doctoral work focused on the continued improvement of the most common artificial cornea implanted worldwide, the Boston keratoprosthesis,” says Geoffrion. “This life-changing surgery gives back vision in patients affected by blindness due to corneal disease and opacification, the third leading cause of blindness in the world. The social and economic burden of visual impairment secondary to corneal opacification is especially significant in low and middle-income countries. The Boston keratoprosthesis has therefore been part of important international programs led by Orbis.”

Geoffrion is now the youngest member of the board of directors of Orbis Canada. Through more than 60 research conference presentations, she has advocated for appropriate patient selection and earlier management of ocular comorbidities and complications in Boston keratoprosthesis. The OFVL program that she founded at Orbis is making a continuous impact in the community by raising awareness about ocular conditions, such as corneal blindness and its various causes around the world, and by sharing knowledge on surgeries like the Boston keratoprosthesis.

Recognized by more than 40 awards and distinctions, Geoffrion continues to contribute to research endeavours at McGill and the RI-MUHC as a volunteer in the laboratory of Dr. Miguel Burnier, Jr., senior scientist (RI-MUHC) and an expert in ocular cancers.

“My academic work allowed me to be on the lookout for meaningful international collaborations,” says Geoffrion. “It will be wonderful to see the OFVL program adopted in many other countries, and I’m happy that my PhD findings will contribute to optimizing care here and abroad, with Orbis implementing better eye health systems internationally.”

Geoffrion will receive her award at the Top 100 Awards Gala in Toronto, Ontario, on November 17.

Read the Women’s Executive Network press release.
Learn more about Orbis Canada and its board of directors.