LCHC opens new eye care center

September 24, 2009
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Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) celebrated the grand opening of its LCHC Eye Care Services during a ceremony on September 15 at the new facility located on the fifth floor at 23 Central Avenue in Lynn.

Eye Care Services is an affiliate of the New England Eye Institute and the New England College of Optometry. LCHS Eye Care Services provides eye exams, advanced testing, specialty care, and affordable prescription eyeglasses for patients who otherwise may not have access to them.

Lori Abrams Berry, executive director of Lynn Community Health Center, presided over the speaking program for the newly renovated space that includes state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

“We are so proud of our new eye care service at the Lynn Community Health Center, and from the day we opened, we have been incredibly busy with patients who have needed eye care for a very long time, so this is a really exciting occasion,” said Abrams Berry.

Dr. Joyce Chien, chief optometrist and director of LCHC Eye Care Services, also addressed the gathering.

“I want everybody to know how thrilled and honored and privileged that I feel to be here,” she said. “Coming in here in April and having nothing here to what it is now – for the first month we saw 90 patients, and now we’re pushing toward 300 patients as of last month, so it’s been an incredible ride. It shows to me how sorely needed this program was.”

Dr. Roger Wilson, vice president of health programs for the New England Eye Institute, congratulated LCHC officials for opening the eye care center. New England Institute is the patient care and teaching program of the New England College of Optometry.

“You [LCHC] recognize that disparities in visual health are an issue for this community and you recognize the importance of good vision and healthy outcomes for your patients and the difference that will make in their overall health status,” said Wilson. “I want to thank you very much for this opportunity to be LCHC’s partner, and we’re looking forward to a beneficial relationship for years to come.”

Dr. Clifford Scott, interim president and vice president/dean of academic affairs of New England College of Optometry, said LCHC Eye Care Services will be used as a benchmark for future locations for eye care centers.

“I congratulate the people from the Lynn Community Health Center, and I think this is a wonderful collaboration,” said Scott. “I think it’s an educational opportunity, and as a school, we’re envied around the country. There is no other optometry school that has the network of partnerships that we have with community health centers, veterans’ hospitals, and homeless programs, but we can’t do it alone.”

Dr. Kenneth P. Taylor, managing director of Taylor Consulting Group, and Matthew E. Fishman, vice president of Community Health Partners Health Care, concluded the speaking program. Taylor volunteered as a consultant to the project and provided invaluable expertise in the planning and implementation of the new eye care center.

Partners HealthCare and an anonymous donor provided more than $400,000 in start-up funding for establishing the new eye care center.

“When we talk about partners and partnerships, one of our best partners is Partners,” [HealthCare] said Abrams Berry. “Partners stepped up to the plate when we asked them to help us buy some of this wonderful equipment that help us care for the patients, and we appreciate it greatly.”

“This eye care center is a powerful example of what people can do by working together,” said Fishman.

State Senator Tom McGee and state representatives Steve Walsh and Lori Ehrlich participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Members of the Shoe City Lions Club, an organization that assists eye care charities, also attended the grand opening celebration.

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