Alumni Focus on Dawn Hartman (OD’99)



Ypsilanti, Michigan

Which institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree? What was your major?

I went to Eastern Michigan University for undergraduate. My major was Chemistry and my minor was Spanish.

Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?


Who were your mentors at the College of Optometry? Who had a positive effect on your education?

I had so many positive mentors at the College of Optometry! At that time, Dr. Cynthia Heard was a great role model and Dr. Nick Fogt helped me a lot as well. Dr. Mike Earley was an awesome teacher and got me on track if I needed guidance.


Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.Dawn Hartman

I am Director of Optometric Services and Residency Coordinator/Chief Preceptor at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates. I am also the owner of four of my own practices, called Grace Vision.

Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.

I work with several students and residents at COA, and I am fortunate to have several ophthalmologists to collaborate with as well. We practice full-scope and our clinics stay very busy. I think it's so rewarding to train students and really help them to understand the big picture.

Outside of clinic, I enjoy working on business development and strategy. I am also very passionate about creating CE/education programs that bridge the gap between optometry and ophthalmology. I am part of a group that works with the OOA to provide education for the East West Destinations Conference, and we really try to make education fun.

Which optometric issues concern you the most?

I am concerned with new laws I hear about that allow patients to determine their contact lens brands. Also, some online ordering practices just haven't shown to be effective for patients.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?Dawn Hartman

I was fascinated by the eye and wanted to be a part of helping folks see better. I wasn't really interested in surgery, so I chose optometry when I was only 12!

Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?

In five years, I would be thrilled to be on this same path! I am hopeful to continue to add/offer more student and resident opportunities. I would like for my own practices to continue to grow and create an environment that makes my doctors proud.

What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?

Wherever you land after graduation, start creating your own resource network. Whether it's other doctors or professional associations, set yourself up to be surrounded by like-minded folks so you can continue to learn.


What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?Dawn Hartman

We made some great memories at the EYE House and when we traveled to AOA conferences. Also, I remember being really close as a class, and I thought that was special.

What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?

My husband and I are both alumni of Ohio State and our oldest son starts there in the fall! Ohio State means strength, tradition and family for us, I think. Our family was recently able to donate a clinic room and we are so proud to be part of the beautiful new College.

How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?

With so many amazing students rotating through the clinics at COA, it is easy and fun to stay connected with the College. I also really enjoy the annual Preceptor Conference. Hearing the passion from so many who train students is always inspiring.


What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?

I love spending time with my husband and kids. We love to travel and go on adventures together. I really enjoy music and hosting family and friends at our home.

What is your nickname?

DB, Sunny D, Sunny D Light. I was the singer in a jazz band my fourth year of optometry school, and we performed at the holiday parties for Ohio State Optometry and Ohio State Ophthalmology that year.

What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?

Well, it's not a pun, but I like to make a cheesy joke to my patients. When they are there for an issue in one eye, they like to sit back out of the microscope after I examine that eye. Of course, I want to see both. So my little joke is...."Let me take a look at your other eye since you brought it with you ..."

If not an optometrist, I would be…

A Spanish Teacher!