19 August 2008

Remote Area Medical

It was September of 1985 when I first matriculated at the SUNY State College of Optometry, then at the corner of 24th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan. Two of the first friends that I made were Doug Weiss and Vicki Molnar. They were wonderful friends from Long Island that I immediately connected with. We all struggled learning to do retinoscopy that first year. Today, Vicki and Doug are married with two wonderful sons Jeremy, and Justin. Jeremy who I recently saw playing the Lead, Troy Bolton, in High School Musical at the Lively Arts Theatre in Charlottesville, VA is my godson. Since we were students Doug and Vicki have been active in VOSH going on missions first with Maryland VOSH that is now Northeast VOSH. Moreover, Vicki has founded a new chapter, Virginia VOSH and has organized nine Remote Area Medical Missions to Wise, Virginia with her husband Doug & her two sons. It was quite an experience for me as I drove the 8.5 hours from Chevy Chase, Maryland with my fellow Kaiser Permanente co-worker, Janet Stein, O.D. We saw approximately 1100 patients in two and a half days. It was exhausting, but it felt good being tired as we were able to provide important services to many people. There was a very impressive group of dentists from VCU and the state of Virginia. Doug and I were both very impressed as we are both the sons of dentists.

We also had a very impressive group of students from UAB led by faculty member Caroline Pate, O.D. I found out the Caroline is a friend of our ESOS President Dr. Alan Bishop. The students were wonderful. I also met one student who graduated from Holton-Arms High School right down the road from me. We also were fortunate to have two of my friends and colleagues, Theresa Solaski, O.D. who I had just worked with at the Maryland Special Olympics, and Reshma Katira, M.D. from the Retina Group of Washington. Reshma and I had talked recently about the RAM trip to Wise at a recent CE meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. It was great to spend time with her and Theresa. Moreover, I had a wonderful experience working with Lions volunteers and several ophthalmologists from Virginia. Vicki even introduced me to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as he toured our eye clinic. I was very impressed with the job Doug and Vicki have done all these years building the program. I had heard much about the program, but there is nothing like experiencing it first hand. I look forward to being a part of this mission for years to come. If you would like to see other information about the RAM in Wise, I have listed some links below to 60 minutes, the NY Times, etc. It certainly reminded me of one of the tenets of Georgetown University: Men and Women for Others!







Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home