Upper Arlington Partnership Impacts Students, Community
The Ohio State University College of Optometry’s new satellite clinic in Upper Arlington represents a particularly notable “first” – our first large-scale partnership with the Wexner Medical Center. But it also represents more than 100 years of tradition, crystallizing a reputation cultivated by the excellent service our alumni, faculty, staff and students provide.
“We were approached by Wexner Medical Center strategists in Spring 2015,” explained Associate Dean for Clinical Services Greg Nixon (OD’96). “Their aim was to create a community health center in Upper Arlington that would encompass and embody all aspects of primary care. They wanted to reach out beyond the medical center’s walls and include optometry and dentistry as key players in the entry point for primary care.”
With the support of the college’s executive committee and under the leadership of Dr. Nixon, countless staff members contributed to the success of the project. The first step was to produce a prospectus examining the clinic’s potential reach in terms of patients served, compared to the square footage available, as well as a cost-benefit analysis.
The project was formally greenlit in Fall 2015. The college planned in parallel with the medical center on overall global design. The process of decision-making for optometry-specific plans, such as how many exam rooms to build, how they should be arranged, finishes, equipment, staffing, supplies, schedules, work flow, computers, human resources, network wiring and so on, occurred during Spring and Summer 2016. Our plan was finalized in Fall 2016.
Officially known as The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Care Upper Arlington facility, the building, located at 1800 Zollinger Road, opened in July 2016. Throughout that summer and autumn, the medical practices opened their individual offices in a rollout fashion. As the optometry clinic construction officially began in Winter 2017, we faced a variety of challenges because the building was open to patients, and we were cognizant of patient access and safety. We limited the noise and dust our project produced during normal business hours out of respect for our neighbors.
After a few construction delays, the clinic opened to patients in June 2017. Features of the new clinic include: comprehensive eye and vision exams; a full service eyewear gallery with outstanding options for glasses and contact lenses; diabetic eye exams; urgent medical eye care; dry eye assessment and treatment; ocular allergy assessment and treatment; and special testing equipment to assess glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
The best feature of all, according to Dr. Nixon, is the impact this satellite clinic has on our students.
“Our intent all along was that this satellite clinic would be true to our mission and be a teaching clinic, just like our main campus clinic,” said Dr. Nixon. “We wanted to make sure that our student interns would have direct patient care experience under the guidance and supervision of attending faculty,”
Presently, the clinic’s attending faculty are JP Maszczak (OD’05), who supervises students Monday through Thursday, and Alex Nixon (OD’12, MS’14), who supervises students on Fridays.
“This setting provides unique educational opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Nixon. “Because of our placement within a medical center building, our students will be exposed to more ocular manifestations of systemic diseases through referrals from medical practitioners.”
Additionally, the fourth-year students assigned to the clinic will be exposed to on-the-ground practice management experience.
“We are essentially running a private practice in this setting,” said Nixon. “Our students will learn to cultivate new patients, garner referrals, build patient loyalty, learn practice management skills and get a better understanding of profitability. They will work closely with faculty and staff on day-to-day management issues to see what happens in a private practice.”
After just three months of seeing patients, the clinic’s popularity is apparent. Calls for appointments are pouring in, and patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
To make an appointment at our Upper Arlington clinic, call 614-366-EYES (3937).