Where are the Black Optometrists?

Hello, I just joined this forum after months of reading posts. I am a 28 year old black (Nigerian) female optometrist wanna be. I have an undergrad degree in Computer Information Systems and now I’m getting my pre-reqs for Opto school. So, I’ve been trying to find more inspiration and mentorship in the Black Mecca of the South (Atlanta) and it seems to be a fleeting dream. Where, o’ where, are the Black optometrists? Can anyone help me find some, or atleast one!?


Thanks and I’m glad to be a member.

One idea: See if the national association for optometrists (whatever it is) has an African American interest group or subgroup and write to them for contacts.


If that doesn’t work, maybe you are a trailblazer. You might have to seek a black physician mentor and an optometrist mentor of any race available to you, and get different guidance from each. Sometimes resources don’t come to us in the form in which we’re hoping to see them.

Pardon my ignorance, and this is certainly not meant to be a ‘flame’ or anything else since I am myself a person of color.


Regarding your question, would an optometrist of any other ethnic association not suffice?

Dazed,


Thanks for the reply.


Absolutely there is nothing wrong with optometrists of any other ethnic association. In fact, I’ve been observing with 3 eye doctors so far…a 60 year old Orthodox Jew, a 34-year old Caucasian, and a 35-year old Puerto Rican. All males.


This is precisely why I’m looking to observe with the opposite gender and preferably different ethnic persuasions…I want more INSPIRATION. Everywhere I turn, it’s a White or Asian male or female in the optometry field. And even though I’m inspired to a point, it would be nice to see some optometrists that look like me and maybe even went through some of the issues that I have gone through so far in my journey.


By no means am I the “Angry Black Woman” looking for a handholding. Just thought it would be nice to see more people like me doing what I aspire to do. That’s all.


As a person of color, can you provide insight on where I may find black optometrists? Based on the student profiles of the optometry schools in the country, blacks are highly underrepresented as it is. So, maybe I’m just wasting my time searching. Perhaps I will have to be a trailblazer as someone else posted here.


Thanks anyway!

Have you looked at this group?


http://www.natoptassoc.org


“Purpose: The National Optometric Association (NOA) was founded in 1969 in Richmond, Virginia. The recruitment of minority students for the schools and colleges of optometry and their placement into appropriate practice settings upon graduation are two basic concerns of the Association. Coincident with these concerns is the underlying purpose of the NOA – the delivery of effective and efficient eye and vision care services to the minority community.





Structure- The NOA is comprised primarily of minority optometrists from throughout the United States. Activities are administered through a board of directors and regional officers.”


Hope that helps I love Hotlanta. Used to live there. Went to an HBCU. There MUST be black optometrists there! Good luck with your journey.



THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RESOURCE!!!


I have contacted the regional specialist for my area, a black woman OD, and although I have not heard back from her yet, I feel WAY more confident about my mentorship than I did before.


This site is awesome and is already paying off.


HotLanta for Life!!


Thanks,


Lola

OP I am glad you found what you are looking for. It can be trying for a person of color interested in medicine or a specific specialty to remain inspired, especially when what you seek or what you want, you cannot put a face or a name to. I think this post was especially helpful for others who may not be considered an ethnic minority to realize that medicine is more than just helping others, there is a level of cultural competency that you must have, and is frankly missing from medicine. We all need someone to look up to and aspire to be like, it helps mark our successes as we get closer to the goal, this includes looking for women physicians to identify with also.

Well said ShaylaRichard,


Thank you for that.

yw!! I too am a woman of color and am constantly seeking physicians of color to identify with, or just to know how they did it. I also put the same vigor into finding women who do what I’d like to do, and women who began their journey as mothers/wives also, because that is also an important part of my story. There is no cookie cutter way for us to make it…I know that now.


Being pregnant has inspired me. Now I need to do the work!

hello


I’m a 18 year old African American girl from the Chicagoland area and I have been interested in becoming an optometrist for four years now! I am an optometric tech for For Eyes and LOVE IT! The doctor who i assist is white! Though he is very nice and helps me learn about the field, its nothing like having someone i can relate to more! I just recently found two black woman optometrists! One works through lenscrafters and the other has her own practice on the north side of chicago! I feel your pain as to looking for a mentor who is black! I talked to them both and they were very helpful and supportive! It made a big difference to me! Knowing that someone like you is doing something you


really want to do gives you more motivation to pursue that goal. I really hope you find one in your area! Keep searching! And when you become an optometrist you can be a role model to someone else. Good Luck!

^^^ good for you That is so awesome.


I am thinking and planning, however I am waiting for my dear baby to come (3 weeks left!!!)


after that I can better plot my course.

Glad to hear that randlee6!


Do really well in your science courses in undergrad.


Also, a forum that is a bit more focused on our optometry goals that you may want to check out…


www.studentdoctor.net


then go to pre-optometry. This forum should really get you going…


Good luck!

Hi Lola,


I just did a google search for “black Optometrists” and your blogg popped up. I was so glad to find it. I am a 45 year old AA woman (I live in Augusta, GA) who is interested in returning to school for optometry. I don’t have a strong science background, however I feel at this age, with pray and discipline - I can do anything. I have a graduate degree in Educational Administration - but again without the science background, I would basically be starting from scratch. My research has indicated that I would need about two years of pre-reqs before I could apply to a school. We are moving to Texas this summer so I want to take my pre-reqs at the community colleges there and then apply to the school in the Houston area. I found your blog on looking for a mentor that looks like you very interesting. And although, I have not done anything other than research at the moment, I am looking for a mentor as well. Where are you in the process? Did the Optometrists get back to you that you found through the natoptassoc.org?


Is there any advice that you can share with me at this stage?


Looking forward to chatting with you. Bridget