Ohio State Optometry, Faith Mission Partnership Earns Award
Together, The Ohio State University College of Optometry and Faith Mission Clinic received the University Engagement Recognition Award for Excellence in Community Parnership.
Ohio State’s Engagement Recognition Awards annually honor faculty, staff, students and community partners for outstanding achievement in local, national and international community-university collaborations. The 2017 awardees will be recognized at a ceremony on May 3 at 10:30 a.m. in the Ohio Union, Archie Griffin Ballroom.
For more than 17 years, The Ohio State University College of Optometry has partnered with Faith Mission Clinic to bring no-cost vision care to the Columbus-area homeless population. The Faith Mission vision clinic began in 2000 with a grant that created a pilot program in which Ohio State Optometry students – under the supervision of attending optometrists - provided free vision care to the homeless.
The pilot program was so successful it was turned into a permanent site for Ohio State Optometry students, even after the grant money ran out. Under the Faith Mission leadership of Vic Ward, Sue Villilo and Kevin Phillips, this clinic location has provided a symbiotic relationship of teamwork and the space for exam rooms and an eyewear dispensary, including utilities, security, patient reception and housekeeping for 17 years at no cost to the college.
The partnership has exceeded its outreach goals of providing free comprehensive eye examinations to this at-risk community surpassing more than 1,000 dilated examinations every year by interns and externs. In total, about 2,000 patients per year are helped, not just through examinations, but by dispensing glasses, repairs and follow-up care. This allows professional students to put classroom theory into clinical practice in challenging patient situations. Around 30 optometry students per year rotate through the outreach clinic at Faith Mission, as well as eight undergraduates interested in vision care and outreach. They report that their time at Faith Mission, under the mentorship of Dr. Joan Nerderman, is one of the most valuable expereinces of their optometric education.