O’Rese J. Knight, M.D.


Hometown:  Miami, FL

Name of Undergraduate Institution:  University of Miami

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology/Religious Studies

Name of Medical School: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Residency and/or Fellowship: Ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University

Favorite Quote:Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And with all thy getting get understanding.” (Prov 4:7)

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m a clinician scientist seeing patients clinically and conducting federally funded research exploring advance diagnostic techniques in glaucoma.

If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell him?

Work Harder!

What advice would you give to a medical student looking to pursue a similar path as yours?

Be decisive. The surgical sub-specialties require a great deal of exposure in medical school with extensive research experience, strong performances on both board exams & academics, and significant leadership experiences being a must for competitive applicants.

What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?

The road itself is daunting. There were family, financial, relationship and other issues along the way but I simply had to commit to the goal at hand. I gave the other aspects of my life appropriate attention as needed, but went all in in the pursuit of the dream.

What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to residency?

Apply for the specialty that you are truly genuinely passionate about. Chances are you’ve done enough during medical school to be competitive. Hopefully, along the way you’ve developed strong mentorship relationships with attendings that will write strong letters of recommendation and assist in intangible ways during the match process. If all these things are in place do not shy away from the field you’re excited about due to board exam performance. Be realistic about your candidacy. Lastly, it’s all about your performance on interview day.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Everything! Honestly, I’m doing what I feel I was created to do!

Do you have another professional degree, such as an MBA and/or MPH? If so, how has it impacted you?

Working on a Master’s of Science. Returned to school to further my research interests. It should make me a better researcher.

Can you please walk us through a typical workday?

Clinically, I see roughly 10-15 patients per half day. I typically have 2-3 sessions per week. I spend a day in the OR with my patients at UNC and supervising ophthalmology residents and fellows in glaucoma and cataract surgery at UNC and the Fayetteville VA. The rest of my time is spent on research or medical education activities.

What do you feel is the most challenging part of your job? The easiest part?

The most challenging part is helping patients transition from independence to greater dependency if and when their vision does fade.

The easiest part is celebrating with patients after cataract surgery!

What has been your favorite memory so far in your career?

Way too many!

What do you feel makes your specialty stand out from other specialties?

I take care of people’s vision. No competition from other subspecialties in that area and patients are extremely motivated to protect/maintain their vision. Makes my job easier.

What gives you the greatest motivation to get up every day to go to work?

Knowing the impact of vision loss in the lives of my patients.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Stay humble. Be prayerful.

How do you manage to balance your work life and your romantic relationship (and family life, if applicable)?

On a tight rope!

Do you have any passions outside of treating patients? If so, what are they and how do you find time to pursue these passions?

Yes. I hold a number of committee positions at UNC and nationally in medical education with regard to medical student diversity in one capacity or another. At home, I like mechanics. I don’t sleep that much.

What do you like to do for fun?

Travel, Run, Catch a movie.

In an alternate universe, what career do you think you would be in right now if healthcare wasn’t an option for you?


Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?

  • Musicians: Shai Linne, Miles Davis, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye
  • Books: Buncha textbooks that aren’t really exciting to folks without a nerd passion for eyeballs….and…the Bible. Not really much of a reader for leisure.
  • Movies: The Usual Suspects, Coming to America, Fight Club…there at least 100 but these I can watch on repeat.

Thank you for your taking the time to describe what your career path entails and for sharing some practical advice with us Dr. Knight! It is much appreciated!

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on December 21st, 2016

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