Lorie Lepley, 1997-1998 Boston Schweitzer Fellow
“The Fellowship has served as a very motivating and strengthening factor which has solidified my plans to work in an area which is currently underserved and could use my training”
Lori, a 1997-1998 Boston Schweitzer Fellow, set out to find populations in the Boston community that are not currently served by the Home Eye Service clinic at the New England Eye Institute. She sought out places that had never been visited by optometry students but were willing to have them give full eye exams on residents who desired this service. The Shattuck Shelter, Harbor Lights Salvation Army, and a safe house called Second Step were visited by her group. Lori was also able to find a doctor who was willing to act as a preceptor, and who was also the authority on which patients warranted a referral to the New England Eye Institute. Lori spent time before each screening preparing the students who would accompany her, and taught them how to use the equipment.
The clients at these three sites felt as though they were given something more valuable than the actual exam, an opportunity to talk with health professionals about their problems, whether medical or not. They saw that they were thought about and cared about. And for the students, it was an incredible opportunity to learn to work with patients with multiple issues and diagnose ocular findings which they had not yet seen.
The Fellowship served as a very motivating and strengthening factor which solidified Lori’s plans to work in an area which is currently underserved and could use her training. In addition to the tremendous amount of optometry she learned, it showed her how to provide her services to those who do not have easy access to a clinic. She learned how to communicate solidly and sensitively, how to contact community sites and companies, how to handle rejection, rebound from it, and continue reaching her personal goals for her project. She says, “I really came to a decision about the rapport I will have with my patients through my work on my screenings.”