Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pacific Welcomes a New Clinic- Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center

Braving the dreary fall weather, hundreds of supporters and community members crowded on the corner of Adair and 12th Avenue in Cornelius last Friday to observe the Grand Opening Celebration of The Virginia Garcia Cornelius Wellness Center. After three long years of construction, design, and preparation, the community was beyond ready to welcome this new staple to Washington County healthcare. Combating the light rain, Portland Mariachi engaged the audience with festive tunes, successfully warming up the crowd. 

Kathleen O’Leary, a Board Member for the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, gently hushed the spectators and provided an introduction for the clinic. Among the prominent speakers at the event (Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Councilor Kathryn Harrington, and Mayor of Cornelius Jef Dalin!) was one of Pacific’s own—Dean Dr. Jenny Smythe. Dr. Smythe was present to announce her excitement for Pacific’s new EyeCare clinic housed in the Wellness Center! 

Clinic view from sidewalk

Barb Colter, Director of Clinical Operations for PUCO 

As you may know, Pacific prides itself on patient-centered education, enabling PUCO students to flourish into flexible and personable clinicians. This new clinic allows for those positive patient relationships we encourage to develop through the mission of Virginia Garcia;
To provide high-quality, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate primary health care to the communities of Washington and Yamhill Counties with a special emphasis on migrant and seasonal farmworkers and others with barriers to receiving healthcare.
Along with the high quality care that the patients receive, students and doctors can also directly benefit from this clinic with the innovative technology present!

4th year optometry student providing demonstrations for visitors

Below, we see Dr. Kenneth Eakland with an Optovue Inc. iVue, deemed the first true World OCT, and quite the technological gift for Pacific. This is another example of Pacific’s commitment to providing the best technology for our students, practitioners and patients!

Among a variety of resources this clinic houses a primary care facility, mental health services, pharmacy, physical therapy services, fully encompassing its title as a “wellness center” by utilizing a whole patient model. The center also includes a community garden and test kitchen space, integrating an entirely new level of promoting healthy living. During the Reception & Tour portion of the Ribbon Cutting ceremony, the Center offered free PT exams, healthy cooking demonstrations and Zumba classes as an example of what will be available to the community! 

As its mission encompasses the idea of total healthcare, the Wellness Center did not fail to remember the health of the surrounding environment! A rain garden in the Northeast section of the campus provides a filtration system to break down pollutants naturally, and includes a rain collection pipe that facilitates water flow to a retention garden.This feature is also synonymous with Pacific University's commitment to sustainability, only enhancing our relationship with the community and this fantastic new center!

Only time will tell how large of an influence the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center will have on the community, but we believe that it will be nothing short of incredible!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Introducing... Abby Boardman

Red and golden leaves decorate the trees around Pacific University's campus, and hundreds of Oregonians are braving the rain sans umbrellas. It's cider season at the local coffee shops, clouds line the sky, and the impending doom of midterms is hanging over every student's head. We all know this means that autumn has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest! Though not without some transitions for Pacific.

Around this time last year, Pacific University College of Optometry experienced a big change; the addition of Andrea Lybarger­­! She has been a phenomenal asset to these programs, impressing students, professors, and staff alike. Thankfully, this post is not to announce any departures, but another new arrival! My name is Abby Boardman, and I am excited to begin work as Andrea’s counterpart, and Pacific’s new Assistant Director for Graduate and Professional Admissions for the Optometry Program and M.A. in Counseling Psychology Program.
 I am a born-and-raised Oregonian, and I recently received my B.A. in Psychology from Pacific’s undergraduate program. My father also works at Pacific as a Math professor, and as I have grown, so has my knowledge of Pacific from all perspectives. When you want to know the ins and outs of the Grove, now you’ll know who to talk to! My hobbies are singing, yoga, crafting, and exploring Portland’s endless sea of restaurants. 

For the Grove-bound soul, there are plenty of things to do when you’re looking for time to kick back! Rainbow Lanes offers free bowling on Thursdays, and McMenamin’s Grand Lodge sports a fine Frisbee Golf course. On Wednesdays, the local Farmers Market gathers on Main St. for wonderful food, products, and music! However, as these cold fall days appear, one might want to be indoors catching a show at Theater in the Grove or grabbing a warm drink at Maggie's Buns. There’s always plenty to do around Pacific, and although I am in a different environment, I am thrilled to begin this new chapter of my life and to continue working with the Pacific community as it has truly become my home.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Guest Blogger: Cassie Solis: AMIGOS Guatemala Trip

Hellooo everyone out there reading this blog post!  My name is Cassie and I am a current 4th year optometry student at Pacific.  In August I spent 10 days in Guatemala with Amigos Eye Care and I wanted to share my experience with all of you!

Every year Amigos partners with Enfoque Ixcán, a non-profit organization that was started by one of our professors, Dr. Scott Pike.  While Dr. Pike goes down to Guatemala twice a year, every August he brings along a group of students and we perform eye exams on patients in the Quiche region, which is close to the Mexico/Guatemala border. This year the trip was made up of 3 optometrists, 9 students and one volunteer.  As a 4th year optometry student this was my second trip to Guatemala and I enjoyed it just as much as my first.
We stayed in a hotel in Guatemala City for the first two nights.  

We had a few days before heading up to clinic so we decided to take a trip to Lake Atitlan.  We grabbed a boat ride around the lake and visited one of the surrounding villages

The following day the group loaded up all of our equipment, glasses and luggage, and began the long trip to the Ixcán region.  Last time I went, this trip took as long about 11 hours so I was pleasantly surprised to find that more of the road had been paved since my last trip.  It sure cut down on travel time.  This year we were able to make the trip in a short 8 hours, including stops for lunch and some Sarita ice cream!

We arrived at Playa Grande with plenty of time to unload all of our equipment and head to dinner.  After our traditional dinner of empanadas, beans, and homemade tortillas we were able to formulate our game plan for the following four days of clinic.


The first day of clinic was in town at the parroquia and we had patients lined waiting for exams before we even left for breakfast.  When we returned even more patients had lined up so we got to work quickly.

We worked all day, taking shifts for lunch and finally finishing up around dinnertime. 

The following two days were spent out in the villages at two local schools.  We began each day performing exams on the local children and finished the day by completing exams on any adults in town once all of the children had been through the process.  Each day was similar and a little different at the same time.  At the first school we were welcomed with a chorus of shouting from the children while at the second we were welcomed with a marimba song.

My favorite part was while we were at the second school we were given fresh cut coconuts from a nearby tree.  The coconut water was amazing! 

And some of us even had a chance to play soccer with the kids from the school. 

The final day of clinic was back at the parroquia and was very similar to the first day of clinic.  We started off the day again with patients lined up waiting for our services, worked all day long and finished up just in time for dinner.  After dinner we were able to count up all of our exam forms and look back on what we were able to accomplish over the past four days. In four short days, we were able to examine 888 patients.  Of those 888 patients we dispensed 369 pairs of glasses.  We also made 52 referrals over four days, 39 for cataracts, 10 for pterygia, and 3 for retinal problems.  

After traveling back to Guatemala City our group split in three, with three members heading out to visit Tikal for a few days, 6 members staying around to visit Antigua, and 3 members heading home.  I stayed with the group that went to Antigua and we had a wonderful time admiring the former Guatemala capital, visiting the local market and even stopping at a chocolate factory. 

Our flight left early the following morning, at 6:30 am, and we were on our way back to another school year.  It sure was early but we got to see a beautiful sunrise.  

The trip to the Ixcán was an extraordinary time and a great learning experience.  We had many nights laughing around the table while playing cards, leaving for dinner early enough to stop for ice cream, and most of all seeing the improvement in a patient’s life when we were able to fit them with a pair of glasses. 


I included the last picture of Dr. Pike and one of our current first years speed walking because while we were in Guatemala we experienced a historical moment.  Guatemala won it’s first ever Olympic metal – a silver in speed walking! The memories we made this year will stick with us forever and I, for one, can’t wait until I can return and make even more memories.