Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Jordan Keith

Alumni are some of the best people to talk to when trying to decide whether or not the Pacific experience is for you.  The Alumni Spotlight will highlight a variety of PUCO alums... asking them about their time at Pacific, what they're doing now, and more.  We think they are some of the smartest, most fun optometrists out there.

This week I am thrilled to introduce you to Dr. Jordan Keith.
Name:  Jordan Keith
Year of PUCO Graduation:  2008
Current Job:  Assistant Professor of Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry
What about your PUCO education most helps you in your day-to-day work?  Since I am now a teacher, the fact that I was educated at Pacific.  I feel my didactic education was well thought out, organized, and delivered by motivated, gifted, passionate teachers.  The culture there had a family feel, which made it a comfortable and enjoyable place to learn.  Although I am mostly involved in clinical education, I hope I create that sense of community spirt with my students.   
Favorite PUCO Memory: In the classroom?  Dr. Goodwin having us yell "Which is better, one or two?" as a class during our first refraction lecture in second year only to have the third years answer "1" by yelling through the wall!  We were finally in the know. 
Outside the classroom?  The annual ski-trip to Mt. Bachelor near Bend, OR.  My birthday fell over that weekend every year.  What a way to celebrate it.  Pacific students know how to have fun. 
Favorite PUCO Class:  Systemic Disease with Drs. Smith and Lingel.  They were such good teachers.  I enjoyed going to every lecture.   
Fill in the blank...
If I was going to start optometry school at Pacific again tomorrow, I would make sure to bring outdoors gear.  Oreogn is the most beautiful part of the country to explore.
As well as I remember, the Pacific University logo, “Boxer”, is a Chinese mythical beast.  One mean looking dog.  Be afraid.
The perfect PUCO student is balanced.  Grades are important, but the person behind the grades is just as important.  As a former PUCO Admissions Committee member, I can tell you that they really look deeply into each applicant and consider the complete package.
The most important thing I have learned about being an optometrist is how much of an impact we can make on people.  Literally bringing kids, parents, and even our tough veterans to tears with what we can do for them.  Our scope is wide and affects just about everyone. 
Are you willing to allow prospective students to shadow you to meet their required 30 hours of unpaid observation for admission? If yes, what city and state do you live in?  If you don't mind observing at ICO....yes!  Chicago, IL. 
If you are located in the Chicago area and are interested in observing Dr. Keith, please contact us.

Also, please note that Dr. Keith's hometown is originally Minot, North Dakota, an area that is currently being devastated by flooding.  Our best wishes go out to Dr. Keith, and the entire community of Minot.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Outback

I am  so excited to tell you about the Outback today.  After all, one of the best things about attending Pacific is the opportunities for adventure throughout the state of Oregon.  In order to help you take advantage of the vast array of activities in our area, we have the Outback.  The Outback is a division within Student Services at Pacific University. Their mission is to provide off-campus adventures of the highest quality that inspire, excite, refresh and educate. They seek to offer both urban and wilderness experiences that complement the campus community’s goals of experiential learning and healthy, sustainable FUN.
I love the Outback for optometry students for so many reasons.  First, we have students in the College from more than 30 states and 4 Canadian provinces (amazing, right?).  This means that many of our current students are new to Oregon, and all the state has to offer.  The fact that Outback provides exciting, fun adventures (and they provide all the equipment) means that you can explore without having to have brought your kayak from home.  The list of the adventures that Outback offers is extensive- and they even include "urban adventures" to help you get to know Portland, too.
The second reason I love the Outback is that they have a rental program.  Let's say you want to go surfing, but you don't have a surfboard.  You can rent one from the Outback for the weekend.  So in addition to taking advantage of the organized group trips, you can also plan your own.  Rentals include canoes, tents, kayaks, skis, and much, much more. 
Outback is also the home of our Afreebike program.  Anyone in the University community who wants wheels for a quick ride across campus or across town can become a member of the Afree Bike Association. With your free registration you will recieve the combination to all Association locks around campus. Unlock the bike, use the bike, and relock the bike to a Afree sanctioned rack.  Genius, right?

Anyway, I could go on and on about Outback.  Learn more for yourself by checking out the video above!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Amigos Trip Update: El Salavador (Guest Blogger Kate Dalrymple)

AMIGOS Eye Care is a non-profit organization of students, doctors and lay people affiliated with Pacific. AMIGOS is dedicated to providing quality vision care at no cost to underserved people in the Portland area and throughout the world. Since its establishment in 1975, AMIGOS has grown to become one of the largest eye care providing organizations in the world, bringing services to thousands of people at home and abroad.

Because so many prospective students are interested in AMIGOS, I have decided to ask 4 current students, who went on recent AMIGOS trips over Spring Break, to share their stories.  I hope you enjoy the series, the fourth and final of which is being written by current student, and AMIGOS member, Kate Dalrymple!

Hi everyone!  My name is Kate and I am a second year optometry student.  I am from a small town in Northern British Columbia, where my favourite past time is horseback riding.  During my first year at Pacific University I became a member of the Amigos club. It is a wonderful club to be a part of because I know we can make a difference in people’s lives.
Me and my favorite El Salvadorian girl!

Spring break is usually my time for relaxing, having fun with friends, and baking cookies.  But this year I decided to try something different.  I joined a team of eight optometry students and one doctor on an Amigos adventure to the smallest and most densely populated nation in Central America, El Salvador.  It was the best decision I ever made! 

Our trip began with a little rest and relaxation.  For two days we were spoiled at an All Inclusive where we explored the beautiful beaches of Usulutan, joined a water aerobics class, and went jet-skiing.   
Water aerobics at our All Inclusive

Reality set in when we arrived at our village “hotel” where we were greeted by an armed guard.  Our hotel was surrounded by a chain-link fenced topped with razor-sharp barbed wire.   I was looking forward to a hot shower, but all we had was one toilet, one sink, and one cold shower for five women.  The cold shower was a wonderful surprise as the humidity was extremely high.

When we arrived at our first clinic in Estanzuelas, there were already at least a hundred people lined up patiently waiting for us.  They were dressed in their best clothes, and many had walked for miles to see us.  They were very friendly and welcoming, happy to have us in their community.  Although very few of us spoke Spanish, we were able to communicate.  The El Salvadorian doctors told us that 17% of the population live in extreme poverty; 63% survive on only $2.00 or less a day.

The line up in Estanzuelas stretched around the corner and down the street

Local baby in his bath!

We visited a different village each day and had five clinic days in total.  Each day we joined a team of two El Salvadorian doctors and ten technicians.  We saw many different eye diseases, such as: pterygiums, pingueculae, strabismus, hypertropia, dense cataracts, orbital cellulitis, intermittent esotropia, toxoplasmosis, iris colobomas, and many more.
Iris Coloboma

Zach determining a reading glass prescription

As a team we saw a total of 1980 patients, referred 268 of these patients for consults with the Ophthalmologist, and dispensed over 1000 pairs of glasses.
Team USA (and Canada) + Team El Salvador = Awesome Team Work!!!

Of all the hundreds and hundreds of patients I saw, a few in particular stand out in my memories.  I was deeply touched by this one older patient.  After giving her an eye examination to determine her prescription, she broke down in tears after seeing clearly for the first time.  She gave me a big hug.  Even though I don’t speak Spanish, I knew she was thanking me profusely!

Each day, many kids waited patiently with their families to get their glasses. I always got an extra smile when I gave them a pencil and a sucker.

I am very thankful I was able to go on this trip.  It was a life changing experience that I will never forget and I can’t wait to go again next year!