By: Rashda Khan Posted On: 04/27/2020
From left to right, Pastor Solomon Liu with the Glory Chinese Baptist Church; Dr. Jenny Terrell, UIWRSO director of Community Eye Clinic; and Dr. Jerry Hu, member of the church and local corneal specialist.
Community Eye Clinic – the UH College of Optometry’s clinic in Fort Worth – has worked with the homeless and other at-risk populations in the area since 2013, but concerns over the coronavirus pandemic have increased the risk for both patients and providers. A donation of masks and other personal protective equipment from the Glory Chinese Baptist Church earlier this month ensures that the clinic can continue to provide critical eye care.
“The Community Eye Clinic is widely considered the lynchpin in the delivery of eye care to the underserved patient population in the Tarrant County,” said Solomon Liu, pastor of the church. “We are blessed to be in a position to contribute to the safety and health of our present and future eye care providers.”
The donation included 10 isolation gowns, five medical face shields and 10 N95 masks, all of which are critical to protect against the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Liu stressed the clinic’s relationship to the community.
“Some of our congregation members have worked with CEC as affiliates or volunteers,” Liu said. “Many graduates of UHCO, including those interning at the clinic, eventually join ophthalmic practices in North Texas and dedicate their careers to the wellbeing of our community in general.”
Two UHCO alumnae serve as the clinics co-directors – Jennifer Deakins, O.D.’10. and Jenny Terrell, O.D.’03.
The donated items will allow clinic doctors to safely provide essential care to patients. “We plan to use to PPE appropriately for infection protection. If care is absolutely necessary for a patient with a sight-threatening condition and they are symptomatic, the donated PPE will protect the providers,” Deakins said. “This allows our doctors to keep eye-related conditions away from the emergency rooms, reducing burden there and possible further transmission of the virus.”
The gift is part of the church’s PPE4DFW initiative. Jerry Hu, a corneal specialist at Texas Eye and Laser Center, and his wife – members of the church – spearheaded the initiative.
“As a community church serving mainly Chinese Americans, Glory Chinese Baptist Church initiated PPE4DFW project to channel the outpouring of love, compassion and patriotism of our members into concrete actions to ensure the safety and health of our frontline medical personnel and first responders,” Liu said.
He said Chinese Americans have a unique perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China and spread in Asia before eventually disseminating in Europe and then the U.S.
“Asian American, including Chinese American, communities have had the misfortune of suffering from this public health crisis twice: first from afar as friends and relatives of patients in Asia, and now as at-risk patients ourselves right at home,” Liu said. “With a two-month head start, many Asian Americans have realized the importance of PPEs early on as well as their impending shortage.”
Some congregants tapped personal and family connections and purchased much needed PPEs, while others contributed monetary support, time and effort for the initiative.
“Because of close facial proximity of eye care providers to their patients, we prioritized optometrists and ophthalmologists as among the first group of recipients of our donations,” Liu added.