Since becoming Interim Dean of the University of Houston College of Optometry in November 2013, I’m pleased to say the College continues to make strides in all areas; from patient care to academics to research. Our goal is to be the premier optometric institution in the world.
We are continuing our Top Tier rankings among optometry schools with the completion and opening of the six story Health and Biomedical Sciences Building (HBSB) just over a year ago. This building contains the UHCO Ambulatory Surgery Center, which is performing hundreds of ocular surgeries a month. We are the only optometry program with an on-site surgery center and have one of the most technologically advanced surgery centers in Houston. Faculty and students provide pre and post-op care for patients creating meaningful educational opportunities for students and community relationships for UHCO. We will soon be opening a laser refractive center adjacent to the ambulatory surgery center.
Our students are excited about the new and innovative large lecture classrooms within the Brien Holden Learning Commons as well as the ample study rooms and lounge facilitates in the Molly and Doug Barnes Vision Institute. The Vision Institute is home to The Ocular Surface Institute (TOSI) lead by Drs. Kelly and Jason Nichols. With the full-spectrum of research and patient care capabilities, TOSI is a leading center of translational activity, bringing the understanding of ocular surface disease from laboratory into clinical practice.
Two of the six floors of the HBSB are set aside for research by the college. This expansion, as well as the remodeling of the original J. Davis Armistead building, has allowed our highly productive faculty to investigate fields including the development of refractive error, glaucoma, ocular motility, and corneal wound healing. The college set a record for research funding of over $6,000,000 this year.
Our clinical facilities continue to grow with the addition of the Community Eye Clinic in Fort Worth to our Houston and Dallas clinics, and the Mobile Eye Institute. Our patient numbers now exceed 50,000 per year through all of our clinical facilities. In addition to the patient services traditionally found in an optometry program, we have the only official affiliation with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society through our MS EyeCARE clinic. We provide in-patient and out-patient care for patients who have suffered brain injuries from trauma or stroke.
We provide Top Tier facilities, highly sought after clinical and research faculty and excellence in patient care – we truly are a Top Tier college of optometry. Most importantly this means we are able to attract the highest caliber students and faculty to continue the advancement of the optometric profession. This is an exciting time at UHCO. I invite you to stay connected with the college and join us in this journey. And I look forward to working with you in my new role as interim dean.Best Regards,