By Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD
College of Optometry
Yesterday, Ohio State College of Optometry faculty members, Dr. Dean VanNasdale and Dr. Andrew Emch made their way to the Department of Optometry housed in the International Fistula Training Center at the University of Gondar. The Department’s mission statement reads, “The profession of optometry offers comprehensive eye care services to all mankind. The training program has the philosophy of producing skilled manpower equipped with adequate knowledge, skills and attitude to deliver such eye care services in the most ethical manner, both on the national and international level.” What institution wouldn’t aspire to that?
Hosted by Department Director, Destaya Shiferaw, and several of the faculty, Dr. Andrew and Dr. Dean were struck by many things that surprised them. Dr. Dean found that the optometry bond ran deep, declaring the faculty at UoG “more similar than different to us,” and he was struck by the faculty’s honesty and candor and that they truly held nothing back. Dr. Andrew declared the faculty, “Enthusiastic and proud, yet self-aware.” Unusual characteristics for faculty members, don’t you think?
Destaya and colleagues are clearly altruistic, focused on the larger community and the optometric profession. They had a clear “vision” of the future of optometry in the country and all of Africa, and envision themselves as leaders in public health as it relates to eye care in east Africa. The two teams spent several hours in completely open, engaged communication. They return tomorrow to tour the clinical facilities and discuss strategies for advanced contact lens fitting instruction and practice in the UoG clinic. Stay tuned.