Within my first few months of school it was very easy to notice my classmates and I all had one dream: to help those in need and give back to our community. As a first year student at RSO, I did not expect to be given an opportunity to do such so early in the program. After just 28 days from the beginning of classes, I found myself inside a small dim room at a San Antonio church located in the heart of downtown.
This would mark the day of my first vision screening. I was scared and timid at first but my fellow students (second and third years) reassured me that everything I had been learning in my Basic Optometry course was going to be put to good use that night. As soon as the patients started to arrive, my peers and I were continuously busy. From measuring pupil size to testing visual acuity, as a first year student with only a month of school under my belt, I was able to help so much!
There are many organizations and clubs on campus that provide students with hands on experiences through vision screenings. I highly encourage many of my classmates who still haven’t attended a vision screening to do so ASAP. It is a such a great reminder of why we study and work so hard to do well in the classroom. These vision screenings provide us with a real world application of everything we have been learning from the textbook, and it doesn’t get much better than that!
As an RSO student, we are reminded of UIW’s core values, especially one in particular: service. From the first day of orientation, we were prompted to be mindful of our community and give back as much as possible. As students of community engagement, we complete a service learning project within our curriculum, consisting of at least 16 service hours by the end of our third year. My classmates, as well as myself, truly understand how important these moments are. Not only are we fulfilling the mission of UIW, but we are also improving the lives of so many community members.
Pictured below are first-year students and instructor Dr. Narayanan, who volunteered at the 2016 BAPS Charities Health Fair. Which is a day that provides a wide array of health screenings and blood testing for community members.
You too can fulfill your dreams of giving back to the community through vision screenings within just one month of beginning your career as an optometry student at UIWRSO!
The University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry (UIWRSO) offers many opportunities for students to apply for scholarships. As you know, scholarships do not have to be repaid and are awarded based upon academic performance or other criteria specifically outlined. UIWRSO optometry students are able to apply for many different scholarships specific to the program. Once you are enrolled, the faculty scholarship committee will forward outside scholarship opportunities to all students meeting the criteria specified in the application whether it be year in school, clinic, state of residence, etc. You can find more information here .
As a smaller program, I feel that I have comfortably established a professional relationship with my professors because they are so helpful and friendly. By building this rapport, UIWRSO faculty and staff have assisted me in the scholarship process, from proofreading, draft edits, to writing a letter of recommendation. They have been a great help in my optometry career and I am so thankful!
Having recently completed our first set of board exams, I appreciated being invited to the Texas State Optical (TSO) Banquet. Both 3rd and 4th year students attending RSO were invited to a full course meal with dessert at the Omni hotel near our school. Students and their guests mingled at the mixer with TSO board members and UIWRSO faculty. The 4th year students are going to graduate soon, so they spent a lot of time together talking about their fun times at optometry school. The third year students finished their boards part 1 and were enjoying this special treat. Many faculty showed up to hang out with the students before they move forward with their lives. The meal was a self served Southern buffet. The food was so good that I got seconds!
The CEO of TSO, Mr. Marvin, began the evening speaking to the students about TSO. Then we had a word from Dean Wingert who was followed by Dr. Stanfield. Dr. Stanfield is head of the TSO scholarship committee, so he announced the winners. I was fortunate enough to be selected for one of three $2,000 scholarships offered by Texas State Optical Inc. This award is given to a student that has an interest in private practice and wrote an essay about it. It was an honor to be selected and this award and I would like to thank the TSO Scholarship Committee.
The Private Practice Club at UIWRSO welcomed Dr. Parker to lecture on “Full Scope Practice” on Monday, March 2nd from 6-7pm in the Lecture Hall 328. Over 60 students and faculty came out to this event and were very please with the presentation, role-playing, videos, and the tips for improving their customer service. Dr. Parker was very interactive and invited students to come to the front to act as a customer or patient while Dr. Parker acted as an “engaging” or “not so caring” doctor to demonstrate the impact that good customer service have on the patient.
Dr. Ryan Parker graduated from the Oklahoma College of Optometry at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah Oklahoma in 2004. While in school he was honored to be elected as President of The AOSA and greatly enjoyed his time serving the national student association. He opened Parker Family Vision Center in 2007 after being involved in two partnerships. Dr. Parker practices full scope optometry. He is proud to be among a select group of Optometrists in the state of Oklahoma that have completed the training to become licensed to perform PRK eye surgery. Dr. Parker works as an optometric consultant in professional relations for Essilor of North America and lectures for Essilor nationwide. He has lectured on practice management topics at many of the schools and colleges of Optometry and has presented numerous lectures to opticians and optometric physicians on a variety of spectacle lens related topics.
He shared his experiences with the students and many students were glad to have learned more about private practice from a customer service point of view. Please watch this clip to hear what he had to say!
TEXAS BBQ dinner from Rudy’s was served in the cafeteria afterwards. There was brisket, sausages, beans, corn, peach cobbler, pecan pie, and refreshing ice tea! Essilor sponsored Dr. Parker to come to our school as well as the food for the school.
Last year when I volunteered at the Catholic Charities Wellness and Resource Fair, I met a lot of friendly UIW students from the other professional schools, but a pharmacy professor, Dr. Cynthia Nguyen, taught me something that has stuck with me ever since. Dr. Nguyen told me about Interprofessional Education and how it can change the face of healthcare for the better. The World Health Organization describes Interprofessional Education (IPE) as when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Efficient team work implies shared decision making and responsibilities, consensus on the ethical principles, constructive conflict management, and reflection of the role of each member within the team (Narayanan). Only recently have I learned that the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry is one of only a handful of optometry programs that integrate IPE into the academic and clinical experience.
In addition to optometry, UIW has multiple health professional programs such as pharmacy, physical therapy (PT), and nursing. Each program has a solid curriculum, however the programs rarely interact. This is definitely changing. Dr. Cynthia Nguyen joined the Feik School of Pharmacy as the Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (IPECP) Coordinator and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. She is currently working with other health disciplines at the University of the Incarnate Word to enhance an Interprofessional Education model and clinical site that allows students an opportunity to be a part of a patient-centered, multidisciplinary healthcare team.
I too, believe that integrated professional education can lead to better integrated care and ultimately a better patient experience. So I volunteered to join the IPE group in the fall of 2014 and that has been one of my best experiences at UIW! The IPE group of 60 or so students would meet weekly on Wednesday at the Bowden Eye and Vision Care Clinic. Every IPE morning, the faculty would place 4-5 students from Pharmacy, Optometry, Physical Therapy, and Nursing into a team. Among our team, we would have a team meeting on communication and the plan for our upcoming patients. In addition to meeting with our IPE teams, the faculty would prepare lectures. The topics of the lectures and meetings were about how IPE works in caring for chronic illnesses, such as diabetes. Currently, type 2 diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, affecting 29.1 million people (9.3% of the population). The prevalence of diabetes is expected to continue to rise in American adults, dubbing it as the pandemic of the 21st century. Because diabetes is a chronic condition, having a team of providers as opposed to one provider can greatly improve health outcomes and compliance.
We were assigned one patient per team. Each team traveled together so I was able to see what the other professionals did in an exam. What was once a big mystery is now clear to me. Everyone was awed by my eye exam because they did not know why the optometrist do what they did. Throughout the morning we explained to the patient and each other the importance of our procedures in monitoring diabetes. It was such a great learning experience. I especially like to listen to how the other professional students spoke with the patient, the questions that they ask, and the language that was used; I reflected on how I could reword my questions during case histories for a better patient experience.
The IPE program is generating much interest at UIW. Students from the different health professional schools are currently working on a constitution to form an interprofessional student group with a mission to optimize health care. Calvin Sanchez, a second year pharmacy student at UIW, invited two nursing students Nicole Ghitea and Alissa Davenport, and myself to the first interprofessional executive board meeting. Since then Danielle Kimbrough, a Physical Therapy student, has joined and we have communicated via email and met on Google hangouts to talk about the plans for this student group. This is all very exciting and I’m glad that I had the opportunity at UIW to meet such amazing people! One of our plans was to meet at a restaurant for a meet and greet! Over 20 students and faculty came out to the mixer in the seafood resturant, Ceviche 210. I enjoyed a delicious fish taco and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon with my new UIW friends!
Narayanan, Srihari, Timothy Wingert, and Patricia Sanchez-Diaz. “Interprofessional Education Challenges With Implementation In An Optometric Curriculum.” Interprofessional Education Challenges With Implementation In An Optometric Curriculum. American Academy of Optometry, 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.
The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) club at UIWRSO hosted the Annual Tour de Optometry and Residency Forum. COVD created the Tour de Optometry to educate and excite optometry students about behavioral and developmental vision and vision therapy. The COVD Board of Directors and some Past Presidents visit each of the schools of optometry, and the attending Board Member works with the COVD Faculty, Resident, and Student Liaisons to coordinate the Tour visit.
This year the National COVD’s President Dr. Ida Chung visited RSO on Wednesday March 4th to talk about her practice and how vision therapy (VT) impacted her patients. She was also glad to see her past students who are now teaching vision therapy at RSO. Dr. Maki was a student of Dr. Chung before coming to RSO as a faculty member. Following Dr. Chung, the club held a Residency Q&A with RSO faculty, Drs. Coates, Maki, Tison, and Nicklas. The students asked a lot of questions about how to get more involved with VT after graduation and why the faculty decided to pursue this path in optometry. I had a great time listening to the speakers and enjoyed some zesty Olive Garden at the same time.